Thursday, 27 April 2017

Cruise lines lower Med capacity based on terrorism fallout

Cruise lines lower Med capacity based on terrorism fallout

Santorini cruise basin.

Fewer and smaller cruise ships being deployed in the Mediterranean this year by will hurt ports throughout the region, according to a recent projection of 2017 cruise passenger totals.

Fears of terrorism in parts of the Mediterranean basin have sent the region's share of global capacity to a 10-year low, according to the report by Risposte Turismo, a cruise research firm based in Venice.

Only 15.5% of cruise ship capacity will sail in the Med this year, down from 18.3% last year and 16.4% in 2007.
Francesco di Cesare, president of Risposte Turismo, said the decline is the result of a mix of factors, among them the "no-go zones for cruise ships," which currently include destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.

"In 2017 we shouldn't register any growth in major Med ports," di Cesare said. "But some marquee ports such as Barcelona will remain stable in comparison to 2016."

A spokeswoman for the Port of Barcelona confirmed that it is expecting more than 800 cruise ship calls this year, up from 758 in 2016, which can be attributed in part to Barcelona's strength as a turnaround port.

About 58% of the 2.6 million visitors to Barcelona last year were boarding or disembarking a cruise, said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be quoted by name.

By contrast, the major ports in Italy are expecting declines. According to Risposte Turismo, the number of passengers handled by Italian ports will drop 7.1% this year, to 10.3 million, while the number of ship calls will be down 9.6%, to about 4,500.

Risposte Turismo expects Civitavecchia, the port for Rome and the second-largest cruise port in the Med after Barcelona, to see 5.9% fewer passengers this year, and Venice, the fourth-largest Med port, to see an 11.4% drop.

Naples, the sixth-largest port, is expected to see a 23.4% drop in passenger numbers, while among the top Italian ports only La Spezia, the gateway to the Cinque Terre region, will eke out a 0.2% increase, the study found.

Di Cesare expects Marseille, France, the fifth-largest Med port, to experience a 6% drop in passengers this year.

Venice is a major turnaround port for cruise ships on eastern Mediterranean itineraries, which have been affected by cruise lines dropping Turkish ports due to an ongoing threat of terrorism. 

Venice is also impacted by limits on the size of cruise ships that can reach the city through the Giudecca Canal. 

Greek tourism minister Elena Kountoura said the number of cruise calls to Greek ports is expected to be down this year, but the number of passengers is expected to rise because of larger ships being deployed. Often, lines that have canceled calls to Turkey have substituted stops at Greek ports.

Di Cesare said Tunisian ports were dropped after two 2015 terror attacks and although the ports began getting calls again in late 2016, lingering uneasiness continues to affect itinerary planning.

Weak results in the Med influenced Celebrity Cruises to bring the Celebrity Equinox back to the Caribbean this summer, while Norwegian Cruise Line, diversifying its capacity out of the Caribbean, moved the Norwegian Getaway this summer to Baltic itineraries rather than Mediterranean ones.
Di Cesare said that regions other than the Med are perceived by cruise lines this year to have a higher return on investment and more demand from passengers. That said, the Med will continue to be the world's second most popular cruising region, behind the 35.6% of capacity devoted to the Caribbean but ahead of the 11.5% of ships doing itineraries in Europe outside the Med.

The drop in Med traffic comes after several strong years. 

Italian ports had 11.1 million passenger movements in both 2015 and 2016, close to the record of 11.5 million set in 2011, Risposte Turismo figures showed.

The spokeswoman from the Port of Barcelona said growth there had been "spectacular" for about a decade but has leveled off in the past few years to a more sustainable percentage, though it is still an increase.

Next year, the Med's share of passengers stands to increase if there are no more terrorism incidents to reduce demand. For example, Royal Caribbean International said it will have eight ships in Europe for 2018, up from seven this year, including its 5,400-passenger Symphony of the Seas, which will do seven-day trips from Barcelona that include stops in Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia (Florence/Pisa), Civitavecchia and Naples.

Malala Yousafzai named as godmother of new Celebrity ship

Malala Yousafzai named as godmother of new Celebrity ship

Image result for Malala Yousafzai,

Nobel Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai, has been named as the godmother of new ship Celebrity Edge as part of a two-year partnership between the line and the Malala Fund.

The 19-year-old, whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free, quality education for every girl, will christen the ship in Fort Lauderdale on December 18.

Celebrity president and chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the association with Malala Fund and choice of Malala as godmother for Edge “felt so right” for the brand, which shares a commitment to diversity, inclusion, gender equality and education.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, Lutoff-Perlo said: “The tradition of Godmother is one of the purest in a commercial world.

“Who do you believe embodies what you want the ship to carry as its karma and who should be its guiding light. You get one chance to truly choose someone that epitomises what a ship stands for. Malala represents hope, gender equality, education and is a great equalizer. I am humbled by her own personal story and what she has done to raise awareness. As Richard [Fain], our chairman says, Malala is an honest-to-God hero, who will be an inspiration to our crew and to our guests.”

Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school.

She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls’ education around the world.

Image result for Malala Yousafzai,

In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl’s right to education.

Lutoff-Perlo said that Malala’s dedication to girls’ education sets an example worth following.

“Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause,” she said. “We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew on-board represent more than 50 different cultures – and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement.”

Lutoff-Perlo said Celebrity had been working on the partnership, which sees the line commit an undisclosed amount of money to the Malala Fund for two years, for some time.

“When we started this journey, we had a 50:50 chance that they would agree to partner with us and Malala be Edge’s Godmother, so we couldn’t be more honoured or thrilled that she has accepted.”

Lutoff-Perlo explained there would be many ways for crew and guests to get more involved in the partnership.

“There will be specially-commissioned Malala Fund/Celebrity merchandise which guests and crew will be able to buy on board, with all proceeds going to the fund. A documentary about Malala will be played on the in-cabin TV channels, and Malala’s book ‘I am Malala’ will also be on sale,” said Lutoff-Perlo.

And she confirmed that UK agents would also play a part.

“They will absolutely be invited to Florida next December to witness Malala naming Celebrity Edge,” he said.

Image result for celebrity edge

Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said: “This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honoured to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we’re excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”

Fain added: “Malala Fund also advances one of our company’s key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most.”

Malala Fund interim chief executive Philippa Lei said: “We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear.”

Celebrity previously partnered with breast cancer charities for its Solstice Class ships, inviting breast cancer survivors, who had done extraordinary things, to be the Godmothers.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Why You Should Consider Cruising in The Haven

Why You Should Consider Cruising in The Haven

The Haven Suite on Norwegian Escape

Whilst there's plenty to love on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise, there's one place on board that will turn your holiday from great to perfection. Tucked away at the tops of Epic, Breakaway, and Breakaway Plus class ships lay a little slice of paradise known as The Haven. Where glorious rooms meet unmatched pampering, a cruise in The Haven is like cruising in first-class. If you can swing it, here's why spending a little more for this exclusive enclave may be worth your whilst.


If you have to pick The Haven for one reason and one reason alone, let it be for their accommodations. Not only are these rooms beautifully decorated, they are the most spacious. If you are travelling in a big group there's nothing better than the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa, one of the grandest rooms Norwegian has to offer. Start off your holiday with a complimentary limousine, ready to whisk you to your awaiting 4800+ square feet suite. Complete with a courtyard, hot tub and a sprawling living room with a baby grand piano, the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa is the ultimate way to cruise.
The Haven 3-Bedroom Garden Villa
Hot tub in your own private courtyard
If you are travelling in a smaller group, stay in the Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony or Owner's Suite with Large Balcony. These rooms, though smaller than the 3-Bedroom Garden Villa, do not skimp on luxury. Sweeping floor to ceiling views and private balcony makes these rooms worth the price tag.
Deluxe Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony
For those who are looking for something more intimate I suggest unwinding in The Haven Spa Suite with Balcony. Offering an oversized waterfall shower with body jets, in-room Jacuzzi, and free access to the Thermal Spa Suite, this room is the ultimate way to relax and rejuvenate.
The Haven Spa Suite with Balcony


Gone are the days of elbowing through buffet crowds or fighting for the last deck chair because The Haven offers exclusive venues only accessible by Haven members. In The Haven Lounge you'll find a comfortable seating area perfect for meeting other Haven guests and a private bar ready to concoct your favourite drinks.
The Haven Lounge opens up to The Haven Courtyard where you will find a pool, multiple hot tubs and a private sun deck with plenty of loungers for you to enjoy. Keep an eye out for the deck valets who come around with complimentary wet towels and cold fruit skewers! If you have a hankering for something more, make your way to The Haven Restaurant where you can order items such as Foie Gras, Grilled Atlantic Cod, and Whole Roasted Prime Rib.
The Haven Restaurant on Norwegian Escape


If you like to be pampered you're in the right place. Haven guests are the only people on board that will have access to a 24-hour trained and certified butler. Waiting on your beck and call, your butler can assist with tasks ranging from pouring your champagne, setting up in suite dining, and even unpacking and packing your suitcase.
Exclusive Service in The Haven
In addition to that you have access to a private concierge, perfect for a stress free holiday. Whether you want to make a last minute reservation in a Speciality Restaurant, attend a Broadway show or register for a Shore Excursion, your private concierge can pull together your plans in a drop of a hat.


As if all of this wasn't enough, as a Haven guest you will receive exclusive extras. Personal favourites include a complimentary bottle of French Champagne or Sparkling Wine, a bottomless fruit basket, savory or sweet gourmet treats delivered to your room each evening, and a special cocktail party with the ship's officers!
Exclusive Amenities in The Haven
A cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line will bring you to beautiful destinations on a ship with more options than you'll know what to do with. If you want a holiday experience like no other, cruise in The Haven, where luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service, and indulgent amenities are the standard. Once you have the best of the best in The Haven, you'll never want to cruise any other way.

Six reasons why MSC Meraviglia will be this summer’s ultimate destination in the Mediterranean

Six reasons why MSC Meraviglia will be this summer’s ultimate destination in the Mediterranean

MSC Meraviglia

Designed around meeting every need of its guests, MSC Meraviglia will introduce new, cutting edge ways to connect holidaymakers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

With the first cruise scheduled for 4 June 2017, MSC Meraviglia will feature the ultimate in entertainment, alongside a broad range of dining options and luxurious wellness choices. In addition to the on-board experience, the ship will spend her inaugural summer season sailing the western Mediterranean – calling at beautiful, historic destinations with a unique, highly-tailored programme of discovery excursions, to immerse guests in local culture and tastes.
  1. Exclusive, world-class entertainment from Cirque du Soleil

The highlight of on-board entertainment will be represented by the world leader in artistic performance, Cirque du Soleil, thanks to the exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea partnership with MSC Cruises.
Two unique Cirque du Soleil shows will be performed on-board in the evenings, 6 nights per week, at the purpose-build Carousel Lounge. An exclusive on-site dinner service for up to 100 of the 450 guests booked for the show, which elevates MSC Cruises’ exquisite dining and award-winning entertainment to yet another level. In fact, this is a unique experience that cannot be had anywhere else at sea – or in the world, for that matter.
MSC Cruises designed a custom-made entertainment venue, the Carousel Lounge, for MSC Meraviglia and its three Meraviglia and Meraviglia-Plus sister smart cruise ships. Featuring the latest technology, this ground-breaking venue, which has been designed to meet the needs of Cirque du Soleil and its performers, will be a circular performance space with a 180° circular glass wall. Kitted out with the most cutting edge equipment and special rigging, the Carousel Lounge will enable Cirque du Soleil performers to deliver their world-renowned performances for the exclusive enjoyment of MSC Cruises guests.
  1. Enriched family offering and cutting-edge entertainment for all ages

With MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises continues to evolve and enrich the family options that have historically been at the core of its offering. The facilities and services for families on every MSC Cruises holiday, are designed to ensure that it is engaging for all members of the family, both together and individually.
For the first time on any MSC Cruises ship, all of the facilities for families, kids and teens are all together in a super amusement park and children’s area. This means families have a dedicated area specially designed for their needs, providing a safe place for children, and an opportunity to also meet and get to know other families. This area includes the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, DOREMI Tech Lab, a must visit destination for kids who love technology, as well as facilities designed in partnership with family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco.
Amongst other features, the on-board Aqua Park will include four action-packed water slides, a splash pool and champagne bowl. And the Himalayan Bridge will thrill adventure seekers, who can attach themselves to a rope and cross the ship, 60 metres above the water.
  1. Comfortable accommodations to meet every need

With 10 different types of cabin to choose from, there really is something for everyone.
The Yacht Club
MSC Meraviglia features an enhanced Yacht Club with luxurious accommodation, now spanning three decks with 78 suites, 15 inside cabins and two apartments. The two coveted apartment suites are designed with a large living room and two balconies, one of which is a large outdoor space that has a dining table for eating al fresco and a private whirlpool.
This unique “ship within a ship” concept is specially designed for guests seeking exclusivity and privacy in a world full of choice. MSC Yacht Club guests can thus enjoy the world-class entertainment, speciality restaurants and boutiques before returning to their own private, luxurious haven.
With unparalleled luxury comparable to that of a private yacht, it also provides key benefits including the Top Sail Lounge, an entirely self-contained private club, offering panoramic sea views, and the One Pool Deck, featuring a private pool, whirlpool baths and solarium. A private lift will transport guests discreetly to the MSC Aurea Spa to experience the delights of an authentic Balinese spa, with an exclusive MSC Yacht Club massage and treatment room.
Modular cabins designed with the needs of families in mind
The trend for multi-generational holidays is further met on this ship with a clever modular cabins system, which is unique to MSC Cruises. Up to three cabins can be combined together to accommodate up to 10 guests.
In addition to the modular cabins, quadruple cabins can accommodate a family of up to four people each, with a living space in the daytime, and a sofa that turns into a comfortable bed by night – making the most effective use of space in the cabin.
  1. A truly unprecedented choice of both fine and casual dining options

MSC Meraviglia makes available to her guests a choice of both fine and casual options through 12 venues – in true MSC Cruises fashion – serving always fresh, authentic food. This starts with the buffet, open 20-hours a day, which will serve a delicious array of Mediterranean specialities and international cuisines – including ethnic, “itinerary” and wellness corners plus a multitude of other tastes and dietary needs catered for round-the-clock.
In addition, fine dining options examples include the award-winning Kaito Sushi Bar, the new Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant and an American-style steakhouse with specialty meats from around the world (details of additional fine dining options will be revealed over time).
  1. The 96 metre-long Mediterranean-style promenade

Another feature of MSC Meraviglia is her Mediterranean-style indoor promenade, featuring an 80 metre LED sky that creates an awe-inspiring atmosphere 24 hours a day. With stunning visuals and effects, the Promenade will be the social centre of the ship and a focal point for a broad range of leisure activities. Amongst others, guests can stroll up and down, sit back and take in the atmosphere, shop until their hearts’ content, snack on delicious ice cream or crepes from Jean Philippe Maury, the award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef.
  1. Elegant pools for daytime relaxation and night-time entertainment

MSC Meraviglia offers all her guests a choice of three elegantly designed pools:
* The main pool, located on deck 15 is inspired by the cool vibes of Miami’s South Beach. At approximately 25 metres long, it has the most generous poolside space at sea. By night, the pool becomes a visual spectacle, illuminated with special lighting. There is also a buffet nearby with inside and outdoor dining options, providing guests with more convenience and optimal relaxation time.
* As MSC Meraviglia is the ship for all seasons, there is a 10 metres indoor pool with a magrodome that can be opened when the ship is in port or the weather simply allows for it.
* Finally, the Aft Pool on deck 16 offers spectacular views from the front of the ship, while by night is transformed into a space where guests can dance the night away under the stars.
Additionally, the private One Deck Pool, exclusively for the use of Yacht Club guests, is in a coveted position at the top of the ship on deck 19 providing a quiet haven for relaxation.

Carnival Corporation opens Fleet Operations Center in Seattle

Carnival Corporation opens Fleet Operations Center in Seattle

Carnival Corporation opens Fleet Operations Center in Seattle
FOCs provide real-time monitoring and support services for corporation’s 102-ship global fleet (Image: Carnival Corporation)

FOCs provide real-time monitoring and support services for corporation’s 102-ship global fleet (Image: Carnival Corporation)
Carnival Corporation has opened a Fleet Operations Center (FOC) in Seattle, US to support operations at its first facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Both FOCs provide real-time monitoring and support services for Carnival Corporation’s 102-ship global fleet. A third centre is currently under construction at the corporations’ headquarters in Miami, US and will be added to the global network later this year.

All three FOCs will use a tracking and data analysis platform built on Microsoft’s cloud technologies, which has been dubbed Neptune. The system has been in use at Carnival Maritime’s FOC in Hamburg, Germany since October 2015 and piloted with Carnival Corporation’s European cruise brands in Hamburg and Southampton, England. The company will continue rolling out the system at its FOCs in Seattle and Miami this year, further increasing the monitoring capability of its ships sailing in the US and Caribbean.

Neptune enables real-time information sharing between Carnival Corporation ships and specialised onshore teams by capturing thousands of data points and providing real-time analytics for 28 distinct parameters for navigational safety from each ship. The system will help Carnival Corporation to optimise ship safety, efficiency, environmental sustainability and overall fleet performance. In future, Neptune will enable Carnival Corporation and its brands to do predictive analysis.

“Our teams have done a remarkable job in developing the most sophisticated and capable system in the cruise and commercial maritime industry for taking safety management to a completely new level, overcoming the hurdles faced with ships sailing in the middle of oceans around the world,” said Vice Admiral Bill Burke (retired), chief maritime officer at Carnival Corporation. “With our new operations centres running our proprietary technology, both our ship and shoreside teams have greater-than-ever ability to ensure we are operating at safety levels that far exceed industry standards. We can now also access and analyse data that can significantly increase the operational efficiency of our ships, which is another major benefit.”

The implementation of the Neptune system is aligned with the company’s Arison Maritime Center, home of its Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy (CSMART) Academy in Almere, Netherlands. The facility currently provides extensive training to 6,500 deck and technical officers from the company’s 10 global brands every year.

“Our commitment to raising the bar on maritime safety has already generated several major enhancements, including our world-class CSMART Academy training facility where our deck and technical officers receive the industry’s most progressive training using state-of-the-art simulators,” said Burke. “Now we are taking it to the next level with our new Neptune support system and cutting-edge FOCs that enable us to support safety using real-time data in ways that have never been done in the cruising and commercial maritime industries. Together, our safety training programmes and innovative technological capabilities like Neptune add even more strength to our comprehensive approach to safety and operational excellence as the number one priority for Carnival Corporation.”

Sunday, 23 April 2017

4 Fun Facts about Norwegian Cruise Line

4 Fun Facts about Norwegian Cruise Line

Incredible but True
Image result for Norwegian cruise line fleet

1,819,194 Gross tons!

Thats the weight of all the Norwegian Cruise lines combined. Weighing in at 168,800 gross tons Norwegian Joy will be the heaviest ship in the fleet; Little Fatty!!! 


This is the number of ports Norwegian Cruise will call at in 2017.

52.4 meters.

This is the height above sea level of 'The Plank' which is only 15cm (6 inch) wide and extends 2.5 meters over the side of the ship. Nor for the faint hearted!!!

31,700 Gallons.

This is the amount of paint used on the Norwegian Escape hull artwork - thats enough to paint over 3,500 cars.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Couple Achieves Cruising Milestone with Carnival

Couple Achieves Cruising Milestone with Carnival

Couple Achieves Cruising Milestone with Carnival
Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Liberty.

Two-hundred of anything is a lot. So if practice makes perfect, Bernard and Janice Caffary are getting pretty good at this cruise thing.
According to Fox News, Carnival Cruise Line "rolled out the red carpet" for the Lakeland, Florida couple earlier this month after they completed their 200th voyage with the cruise line.
The retired couple achieved the record feat in just 15 years, averaging more than a dozen cruises per year.
The Caffarys completed their 100th sailing aboard the Carnival Sensation in 2015 and are now eyeing the same milestone aboard the Carnival Liberty.
"We love the crewmembers," the couple told Fox News. "We have completed our bucket list of travels. We no longer book to go places but to travel with the crew. They are our family and we are in touch with many from hotel stewards to staff captains."
Carnival pulled out all the stops to recognize the Caffarys' remarkable accomplishment and reward them for their loyalty. Fox News reported the cruise line greeted them with signs at the terminal and onboard. Plus, the couple was celebrated with commemorative gifts and special onboard experiences. 
"[The Caffarys] were also the guests of honor during special VIP celebrations held both in the ship's atrium and the main show lounge attended by dozens of Carnival Liberty team members," Carnival PR Manager Vance Gulliksen told Fox News.
Despite having spent more than $175,000 on their previous trips, the couple has no plans to slow down. The Caffarys have already booked their next 30 Carnival cruises and will at the very least be frequenting the Carnival Liberty through the end of next year.
"We are now booked on the Liberty until December 2018," the couple told Fox News. "We hope to reach [our 100th] sailing on the Liberty just like we did on the Sensation."
The 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty sails out of Port Canaveral, Florida year-round, offering three- and four-day roundtrip voyages to the Bahamas.
The next step for the Caffarys may be to move in. 
"It's not so unusual for men, women or couples who love cruising to take up residence on their favorite ship," said Telegraph Travel's cruise expert Jane Archer. "Princess Cruises once told me there were more than 100 passengers living on their ships."

Norwegian Cruise Line Hires Lifeguards After Multiple Child Deaths

Norwegian Cruise Line Hires Lifeguards After Multiple Child Deaths

Me on the Norwegian Star, Pool side

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced that the line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools across their fleet.
Disney Cruises was the first large ship operator to hire lifeguards several year ago following the near-drowning of a four year old boy  which caused significant brain injury and led to a large settlement for the medical needs of the child. 
Since gCaptain first highlighted the problem several children drowned in swimming pools on NCL ships says Jim Walker, a cruise ship blogger and legal expert that’s been closely following the numerous swimming pool tragedies aboard ship. 
Two years ago, a 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool aboard NCL’s Norwegian Gem and, in 2014, two small children were pulled from a pool on NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway as the cruise ship was sailing from New York to the Bahamas. Both children were unresponsive. The younger child (age 4) died on the cruise ship. The other child (age 6) was medevaced by the Coast Guard.  
Royal Caribbean became the second cruise line to hire lifeguards when it announced two months ago that it would abandon its swim-at-your-own-risk which had been the industry’s standard policy for decades.  
According to Norwegian Cruise Line the new lifeguards will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line’s four largest ships – Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic – and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.  
“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet.” 

Whistleblower in Record ‘Magic Pipe’ Pollution Case Gets $1 Million Payout

Whistleblower in Record ‘Magic Pipe’ Pollution Case Gets $1 Million Payout

Caribbean Princess

A U.S. District Judge in Miami on Wednesday sentenced Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) to pay a $40 million penalty – the largest-ever for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution – related to illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.
The judge also ordered that $1 million be awarded to a British engineer, who first reported the illegal discharges to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which in turn provided the evidence to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Princess Cruise Lines, part of Carnival Corporation, agreed last December to plead guilty to seven felony charges stemming from illegal oil dumping at sea and intentional acts to cover it up.
According to the Justice Dept., the newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on Aug. 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England without the use of required pollution prevention equipment. The evidence gathered by the whistleblower, including photographs of the magic pipe, led to an inspection of the cruise ship both in England and then when it reached New York on Sept. 14, 2013. During each of the separate inspections certain crew members concealed the illegal activity by lying to the authorities in accordance with orders they had received from Caribbean Princess engineering officers.
The sentence, imposed by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in Miami, also requires that Princess remain on probation for a period of five years during which time all of the related Carnival cruise ship companies trading in the U.S. will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan that includes independent audits by an outside company and oversight by a court appointed monitor. As a result of the government’s investigation, Princess has already taken various corrective actions, including upgrading the oily water separators and oil content monitors on every ship in its fleet and instituting many new policies.
According to papers filed in court, the Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges through bypass equipment since 2005, one year after the ship began operations. The August 2013 discharge approximately 23-miles off the coast of England involved approximately 4,227 gallons within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. At the same time as the discharge, engineers ran clean seawater through the ship’s monitoring equipment in order to conceal the criminal conduct and create a false digital record for a legitimate discharge.
The case against Princess included illegal practices which were found to have taken place on five Princess ships – Caribbean Princess, Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess. One practice was to open a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor. The purpose was to prevent the oil content monitor from going into alarm mode and stopping the overboard discharge. This was done routinely on the Caribbean Princess in 2012 and 2013, the court found. The second practice involved discharges of oily bilge water originating from the overflow of graywater tanks into the machinery space bilges. This waste was pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste, and then pumped overboard anytime the ship was more than four nautical miles from land. As a result, discharges within U.S. waters were likely, and none of the discharges were recorded in the oil record books that are required to be maintained on board the ships.
“These violations of law were serious, longstanding and designed to conceal illegal discharges,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wood. “The sentence in this case should ensure that these crimes do not take place in the future and should also send a strong message to others that illegally polluting U.S. waters will not be tolerated.”
“Today’s large criminal penalty makes it clear that businesses that operate in our oceans will be held accountable for violating their obligation to safeguard the marine environment,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Greenberg. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our maritime partners are committed to ensuring that all vessel operators adhere to recognized standards in order to protect our open seas and coasts. We will continue to use the U.S. courts to pursue those who circumvent the law for their own personal gain.”
“Without the courageous act of a junior crewmember to alert authorities to these criminal behaviors of deliberately dumping oil at sea, the global environmental damage caused by the Princess fleet could have been much worse,” said Rear Admiral Scott Buschman, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District. “The selflessness of this individual exposed five different ships that embraced a culture of shortcuts and I am pleased at this outcome.”
Ten million of the $40 million criminal penalty imposed by the court is earmarked for community service projects to benefit the maritime environment; $3 million of the community service payments will go to environmental projects in South Florida; $1 million will go for projects to benefit the marine environment in United Kingdom waters. Additionally, $1 million of the criminal penalty will be deposited in the Abandon Seafarer’s Fund, a fund established to provide a mechanism for the U.S. Coast Guard to offer humanitarian relief and support of seafarers who are abandoned in the United States and are witnesses to maritime-related crimes.
As set forth in papers filed in court, Princess admitted to the following:
  • After suspecting that the authorities had been informed, senior ship engineers dismantled the bypass pipe and instructed crew members to lie.
  • Following the MCA’s inquiry, the chief engineer held a sham meeting in the engine control room to pretend to look into the allegations while holding up a sign stating: “LA is listening.” The engineers present understood that anything said might be heard by those at the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California, because the engine control room contained a recording device intended to monitor conversations in the event of an incident.
  • A perceived motive for the crimes was financial – the chief engineer that ordered the dumping off the coast of England told subordinate engineers that it cost too much to properly offload the waste in port and that the shore-side superintendent who he reported to would not want to pay the expense.
  • Graywater tanks overflowed into the bilges on a routine basis and were pumped back into the graywater system and then improperly discharged overboard when they were required to be treated as oil contaminated bilge waste. The overflows took place when internal floats in the graywater collection tanks got stuck due to large amounts of fat, grease and food particles from the galley that drained into the graywater system. Graywater tanks overflowed at least once a month and, at times, as frequently as once per week. Princess had no written procedures or training for how internal gray water spills were supposed to be cleaned up and the problem remained uncorrected for many years.

Good fun that is funny: Carnival Horizon to have Dr. Seuss water park

Good fun that is funny: Carnival Horizon to have Dr. Seuss water park

Dr. Seuss water park
Carnival Cruise Line said the upcoming Carnival Horizon will be the first to have a Dr. Seuss-themed water park and slides.
Located on Deck 12, Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will have two different slides and a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys.
The larger of the two slides, The Cat in the Hat slide, will be a 450-foot-long enclosed raft slide with tubing that alternates between translucent red and opaque white. The entrance will resemble a giant-sized version of the cat's trademark floppy stovepipe hat.
A second slide, the 213-foot Fun Things slide will be an enclosed body slide with whimsical polka dots and special lighting effects named after the Thing 1 and Thing 2 creatures from "The Cat in the Hat."
"We think this is going to be a real fun, new, different feature," CCL president Christine Duffy said.
The highlight of the splash area will be a 150-gallon tipping bucket in the shape of the cat's hat. On clear partitions surrounding the park there will sayings from Seuss stories and the entrances will feature larger than life images of Seuss characters, such as The Grinch with a surfboard tucked under his arm.
The water park extends the partnership Carnival launched in 2013 with Dr.Seuss Enterprises, which includes parades, a Green Eggs & Ham breakfast and on some ships, including Horizon, a library/play area called Bookville.
The 3,934-passenger Horizon, a sister of the Carnival Vista delivered last year, arrives in April 2018.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Norwegian Joy's go-carts get Ferrari brand

Norwegian Joy's go-carts get Ferrari brand

Norwegian Cruise Line is partnering with Scuderia Ferrari to put the Ferrari name on the go-cart attraction on the Norwegian Joy.
The 3,850-passenger vessel, Norwegian's first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market, is to be christened June 27.
Norwegian had previously disclosed that the two-level track with electric go-carts would be a feature of the ship.
It is the first time that Ferrari has partnered on a branded go-cart track. Scuderia Ferrari watches will be sold in a retail store adjacent to the racetrack, Norwegian said.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

From Celebrity, wind of change

From Celebrity, wind of change

Image result for celebrity edge class
The Celebrity Edge Stateroom Concept.

I suppose a 90-ton platform that hangs over the side of a ship and moves over the span of 14 decks is impressive, but there's another marvel of technology on Celebrity Cruises' new Edge-class ships that shouldn't be overlooked.

The Edge-class cabins will have hair dryers in the bathroom.

What's the big deal, you ask?  Isn't just about every hotel room in the civilized world so-equipped?

Exactly the point.

I'm not 100% positive that Edge is the first with this cutting, er, edge equipment, but I can say that to the best of my memory, none of the ocean ships I've been on recently have had them.

Instead, there's usually a dryer in the drawer of a bureau, or in a cloth bag sitting on a cabinet shelf, for use in the cabin itself. A few older ships have low-powered dryers fastened to the wall.

I don't know exactly why wiring cruise cabins for hair dryers has been such a difficult challenge. I do know that the problem goes back a long time.

Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and services at Royal Caribbean International, once looked back on how the industry has changed and recalled that when she worked at Carnival Cruise Line in the 1970s, she couldn't plug in a hair dryer in any outlet in her cabin.

Carnival solved the problem by designating a cabin on each deck as a blow-dry suite and wiring it specially so that the appliances wouldn't blow all of the circuit breakers that they normally would have.

Cruise lines eventually figured out how to wire the cabin for portable hair dryers, but not the bathrooms.

Most of the appliances that are going to be plugged into a cruise ship cabin outlet don't draw as much wattage as a hair dryer, which can pull as much as 2,500 watts. That's more than a coffee maker or a toaster (not that they're allowed) and way more than a laptop computer, which only draws about 100 watts.

That much power consumption can use up a lot of the capacity of a typical household electrical circuit.

Most cruise ship bathrooms don't have any outlets at all, except for one that is limited to electric shavers, which consume about 20 watts. Lighting is about the only electrical application in the bath.

That has left cruise passengers perched on an upholstered stool, their knees shoved into a little cubby space beneath the desk, in a posture that may or may not be comfortable, at the mirror above the desk in their cabin trying to dry their hair before a gala night out at some specialty restaurant.

So three cheers for the bright engineer at Celebrity or STX France that has figured out the age-old hair dryer in the bathroom problem. That's progress we can all believe in.

Damen to Buy Keppel Verolme Shipyard at Port of Rotterdam

Damen to Buy Keppel Verolme Shipyard at Port of Rotterdam

Keppel Verolme shipyard
Keppel Verolme shipyard. Photo: Keppel
Damen Shipyards Group has entered into an agreement with Keppel Offshore & Marine for the acquisition of the Keppel Verolme shipyard in the Rotterdam.
With the acquisition of the Verolme shipyard, Damen continues to strengthen its repair and conversion activities within the regional ship repair and conversion market.
The Verolme yard has been active in the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam since 1957, and the yard now comprises three graving docks, a quay capacity of over 1,800 meters, and approximately 250 employees. The acquisition of the yard will boost Damen’s dry dock capacity with the addition of the Verolme yard’s largest dry dock, which measures 90 by 405. The dry dock will be Damen’s largest in the Netherlands. 
Damen says it intends to continue to operated the Verolme yard with its current workforce.
“With the Verolme yard, Damen will have four large repair yards within close proximity of the Port of Rotterdam. The two yards in Rotterdam, along with Damen’s yards in Vlissingen and Amsterdam, will closely cooperate to maximise the use of each other’s expertise, further developing synergy advantages and jointly marketing their capacity, with the objective to offer more efficient and competitive services,” Damen said in a press release.

Cruisers Split on Carnival Pool Change

Cruisers Split on Carnival Pool Change

Cruisers Split on Carnival Pool Change
PHOTO: Havana Pool, Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that several pools on its ships that were previously exclusive to adults have now been opened to all families onboard.
Carnival brand ambassador John Heald made the announcement on Facebook, where he revealed that the Conquest, Glory, Valor, Liberty and Freedom Conquest-class ships, as well as the Splendor and Victory, would have their aft pools available to all passengers.
While some adults may be perturbed by the news, Heald reminded travelers that the Freedom, Glory, Liberty, Splendor, Valor and Victory cruise ships all had Serenity adults-only areas. In addition, the Conquest vessel was scheduled to add a Serenity area during dry dock in October.
“There were a number of ships in the fleet on which all pools were already family friendly.  The change on the particular ships in question was made based on the high volume of families on board at this time of year, although, we very much appreciate the view of those who like having an adults-only pool option,” a Carnival spokesperson said in a statement to TravelPulse.
“With limited exception, our ships have adult- only Serenity decks which we very much encourage those guests who want a kid-free environment to enjoy. We are currently evaluating our plan going forward with respect to the aft pools.”
Regardless of the cruise line’s reasoning or justification of the decision, it has caused backlash from some customers, with an actual online petition started to convince Carnival to turn the aft pools back into adult-only areas.
As for how travelers are responding on the website Cruise Critic's Carnival forum, many posters are strongly against the decision, with over 85 percent of responders saying they would rather have aft pools exclusive to adults.
“Do they have to deny the adults a pool where we can be free of kids splashing around and jumping in?” user "firemanbobswife" said on the Cruise Critic forum. “I love kids as I have my own and don't have anything against them in general. It's just that it's nice to be able to get away from them all.”
There may be plenty of complaints, but other cruise enthusiasts are simply indifferent to the decision.
“It honestly doesn't faze me. We have cruised as a family the last 7 years. Our kids are now 16 and 20,” user Moosevilleco said. “There were times we spent maybe an hour in the adult pool on a sea day. I actually prefer the Serenity area. Maybe this will help with the overcrowding of the hot tubs.”