CRUISE OF THE WEEK | SECOND PERSON PAYS $1 PLUS PORT CHARGES

Looking at pack and go? MSC Cruises has an amazing deal on a cruise for mid June 2013 with the second person paying only $1 plus port charges.

Each week MSC Cruises will present one cruise sailing between 4 and 6 weeks of booking date where the second person pays just $1 plus port charges (Port charges for this week’s deal are $AUD175pp and $NZD210pp).

This hot offer is for the 17 June 2013 seven-night cruise from Genoa aboard MSC SINFONIA, with prices starting at a bargain $AUD1055 for an inside cabin, $AUD1325 for an ocean view cabin and $AUD1775 for a balcony cabin.

When you take the cabin rate for 2 people over the seven nights it works out to be a low $AUD66, $NZD85 per person per day! This is unbelievable value!

The seven-night cruise ex Genoa visits: St. Tropez, Palma de Mallorca (Overnight), Mahon, Olbia and Salerno before returning to Genoa.

This Cruise of the Week offer is valid to book online, through a travel agent or by phoning 1300 028 502 (Australia) or 0508 4278 473 (New Zealand), but it will only be available from 3pm AEST on Tuesday, April 23, until 10am AEST on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Currency Inside Cabin for 2 People
From
Outside Cabin for 2 People
From
Balcony Cabin for 2 People
From
AUD $1,055 $1,325 $1,775
NZD $1,350
$1,700 $2,280

3rd and 4th Adult available for $AUD679pp/$NZD879pp.

*Terms and Conditions: Offer valid for new bookings only and valid on specified departure and valid for twin share only. Offer must be paid in full between the hours of 3pm Tuesday 23rd April and 10am Thursday 25th April. 1st Person prices by category are from prices only and subject to availability.

MSC Cruises

 

A delegation of US cruise industry managers will put Liverpool’s attractions under the microscope after the city’s new expanded cruising season launches on Sunday (April 21).

The season will open with the return of the highly popular Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines after a three year gap with mv BOUDICCA docking at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal for the first time on Sunday at 5pm to embark 900 passengers for the Canary Islands, sailing at 11pm.

Next week six shore excursion managers from Royal Caribbean International (RCI), based in Miami, will arrive to check Liverpool’s attractions. RCI passengers already rate Liverpool as its top UK destination.

Royal Caribbean announced mv CELEBRITY INFINITY, owned by its premier brand, Celebrity Cruises, will make nine calls at Liverpool during the next two years. It includes one overnight stay in July 2014 so passengers can visit the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

CELEBRITY INFINITY will make her maiden call at Liverpool on May 18 on a round Britain cruise from Harwich, followed by three other calls. Her final call on September 1 will allow passengers to start or end their cruise in Liverpool. RCI’s VISION of the SEAS will call two days later.

In 2011 there were 15 cruise liner visits, which will rise to 36 ships this year, with 12 turnarounds by BOUDICCA and three by Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ DISCOVERY.

Cunard Line flagship QUEEN MARY 2 will also embark and off-load passengers on May 17. In all 13,700 berths will be available from Liverpool this year.

Next year promises even more with 50 cruise ships already booked (up from 15 in 2011). Newcomers in 2014 include a visit by MSC Cruises and three turnarounds by Thomson Cruises.

Thomson, with its huge hotel experience could be crucial in driving Liverpool’s cruise and stay market, a development desperately wanted by the hotel sector.

One hundred top Thomson agents are being trained at its Luton HQ in promoting cruises from Liverpool, although the sailings are already selling well.

Angie Redhead, Cruise Terminal manager, said: “The RCI team will be doing a recce of local attractions to check out their investment as it costs a lot of money to bring ships into a port.

“The key thing is getting cruise line chiefs like these over here, as after a visit they are always won over. But we can’t be complacent and must find new ways to differentiate Liverpool from other ports.

“We need to support the trade so I’m thrilled to have persuaded the Association of Cruise Experts to bring its conference to Liverpool Convention Centre in September.

“It’s fantastic to have Fred Olsen back and sale of their cruises has been phenomenal, which is evidence that people want the ship to come to them. The volume of first time cruisers has grown massively.

“Liverpool is now established in the cruise industry and companies like Princess Cruises have been so loyal to us, even bringing its new ship, RUBY PRINCESS, next year.

“Our growth is purely from passenger satisfaction reports. We’ve had no negative feedback, Liverpool usually exceeds expectations. The biggest liners like QUEEN MARY 2 can berth in the heart of the World Heritage Site.

“The Cruise Terminal and the return of these big passengers ships are tangible evidence of Liverpool’s regeneration and gives local people back a sense of pride.”

Cllr Wendy Simon, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “The cruise liner industry is vital to the city’s economy, bringing in millions of pounds.

“QUEEN MARY 2 will be in to coincide with the re-opening of Central library on May 17 and CELEBRITY INFINITY will join us for the final day of the River Festival and Music on the Waterfront.”

Claire McColgan, Liverpool Culture director, said: “Next year’s overnight stay by CELEBRITY INFINITY so passengers can visit the Golf Open is the sort of added value that will make Liverpool stand out.”

Liverpool Daily Post

 

Alliance partners Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia will operate flights between Perth and Christchurch next summer, the first time the cities have been linked by a direct service in more than 20 years.

The twice weekly B767-300 Air New Zealand service will begin on December 3 and operate through to April 26. Virgin Australia will codeshare on the flights which, if successful, will become permanent.

The announcement was made by Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon at the opening of Christchurch Airport’s new terminal.

He said Perth and Christchurch are the two largest trans-Tasman destinations without a direct alliance service.

“This is a great time to be linking these two destinations,” Luxon said. “The West Australian economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Australia and rebuilding activity is poised to stimulate travel demand with Christchurch and Canterbury.

“Christchurch is also a convenient hub for the whole of the South Island, particularly now the airport company is providing world class terminal facilities.”

Virgin Australia said it was “very pleased” with the recovery seen on Christchurch routes.

“The hard work and cooperation of Perth Airport and Christchurch International has been integral to the formation of this new route and we look forward to working with them in the future for the benefit of our customers,” chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said.

The flight will depart Christchurch at 3.40pm each Wednesday and Saturday arriving in Perth at 6.00pm and with the return flight leaving at 7.10pm, arriving into NZ at 6.20 the following morning.

Meanwhile, the opening of the $NZD237 million terminal at Christchurch heralded a new era for the airport, its chief executive Jim Boult said.

Flight schedule:

Flight

From

Departs

To

Arrives

Frequency

NZ161

Christchurch

15:40

Perth

18:00

Wednesday, Saturday

NZ162

Perth

19:10

Christchurch

06:20 + 1

Wednesday, Saturday

Travel Weekly

 

Garuda’s recently announced Boeing 777-300 service between London and Jakarta, with onward connections to its Australian ports, has now gone on sale ahead of its November start date.

From November 2, Australians can fly to London via Jakarta five times weekly from Sydney or Perth and four times weekly from Melbourne. The airline has updated its Australian schedule so that stopovers in Jakarta are no longer than 3.5 hours.

Bagus Y Siregar, Garuda vice president Australia & SWP, described the move as an “incredibly exciting venture”.

“To make our customers’ busy lives even easier, we’ve updated our flights departing Australia so that we’re able to offer an exceptionally convenient option for travel to one of Europe’s major hubs,” he said.

“From November, passengers will leave Australia in the evening and relax through the night, before arriving in London in the morning.”

The flights are now available for sale via the airline’s website, reservations team and partner travel agents.

Travel Weekly

 

Expedition cruise company Aurora Expeditions is proud to be supporting the recent ‘Shackleton Epic Expedition’ by returning the vessel used in the re-enactment, the Alexandra Shackleton, to its native homeland in the UK.

The replica of Shackleton’s original lifeboat, the James Caird, is currently on board Aurora Expeditions’ ship, the POLAR PIONEER, heading north along the Argentinean coast as the ship makes its way north to start its 2013 tour of the European Arctic. The public can monitor the progress of the Alexandra Shackleton’s journey home by visiting the POLAR PIONEER tracker here.

Aurora Expeditions also supported the ‘Shackleton Epic Expedition’ by repositioning the 22.5-foot (6.9m) boat down to Antarctica in November last year.

“We couldn’t have embarked upon the Shackleton Epic Expedition without Aurora’s incredible support to safely transport our boat, Alexandra Shackleton to Antarctica. She was delivered safe and sound to Arctowski Base, King George Island giving us time to conduct sea trials and prepare her for the 800 nautical mile crossing from Elephant Island to South Georgia. And now Aurora is playing another vital role to transport her back to Europe where she’ll go on display at different events around the UK and hopefully in the USA and Australia in the future.” Tim Jarvis AM, Shackleton Epic Expedition Leader.

In 2014 Aurora Expeditions is offering Shackleton enthusiasts the opportunity to pay their respects on a pilgrimage to Shackleton’s final resting place in South Georgia. Experience hikers will also have the opportunity to join the ‘Shackleton Crossing’, an option to attempt to cross the jagged peaks of South Georgia from King Haakon Bay to Stromness—the final route of Shackleton’s epic and life-saving expedition in 1916.

Aurora Expeditions 20 day ‘In Shackleton’s Footsteps’ departs 11 March 2014 on board the 54-passenger Polar Pioneer. Prices start from US$USD12,415 per person.

A range of other exciting expeditions to South Georgia and the Antarctica Peninsula will depart from November 2013 through to March 2014. For more information contact Aurora Expeditions www.auroraexpeditions.com.au.

Scoop News

 

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ‘brings the world closer to you’ in 2014/15 with even more destinations from on your doorstep

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is pleased to announce the launch of its new 2014/15 cruise itineraries, to hundreds of amazing and exotic destinations worldwide, from an even greater choice of regional UK ports than ever before.

Fred. Olsen will be visiting no fewer than 246 destinations in 2014/15—even more than in the previous cruise season—in 85 countries around the globe. The 2014/15 cruise programme will see the addition of two new convenient, regional departure ports—Avonmouth and Tilbury—further enhancing Fred. Olsen’s reputation as the ‘local, global cruise line’.

Fred. Olsen will also be embarking on its most ambitious ‘Grand Voyage’ ever, with an 119-night ‘Exploring the Far East’ sailing on BALMORAL, which is seven days longer than its 2013 ‘World Cruise’, but visits 19 more ports.

The 2014/15 cruise programme will see the Fred. Olsen fleet of four ships—BALMORAL, BRAEMAR, BOUDICCA and BLACK WATCH—sailing from Southampton, Dover, Harwich, Tilbury, Avonmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Greenock (for Glasgow) and Belfast, making even more overnight stops in spectacular cities worldwide, in response to guests’ desire to spend more time ashore in the ports that they visit. Fred. Olsen will also be working with destination ports to create an even greater link between its cruises and local events, such as the ‘Baltic Festivals’ of ‘Kieler Woche’ in Kiel, Germany and the world-renowned ‘Jazz Festival’ in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fred. Olsen will be offering many new destinations in 2014/15, which promise guests a wealth of unforgettable holiday experiences. For instance, there will be an impressive 13 maiden calls on BALMORAL’s ‘Asia Grand Voyage’ in 2015: Galle (Sri Lanka), Ujang Pandang (‘Makassar’, Indonesia), Naha (Okinawa, Japan), Tokyo (Japan), Nagasaki (Japan), Jeju City (Jeju Island, South Korea), Dalian (China), Nha Trang (Vietnam), Nathon (Koh Samui, Thailand), Malacca (Malaysia), Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Utheemu (North Thiladhunmathee Atoll, Maldives) and Uligamu (Ihavandhippolhu Atoll, Maldives).

Other new destinations for Fred. Olsen in 2014/15 include:

  • Vila do Porto, Santa Maria, Azores – this main town is famed for its superb beaches and wonderful weather
  • Peniscola, Spain – often referred to as the ‘Gibraltar of Valencia’, and locally as ‘The City in the Sea’, this peaceful, scenic town has a castle and fortress, and famously was the setting for the 1961 film, ‘El Cid’
  • Eskifjordur, Iceland – a secluded fishing town in eastern Iceland, perfect for walking and exploring, with the impressive sight of Mount Holmatindur dominating the landscape
  • Runavik, Faroe Islands – this quaint port boasts stunning landscapes and charming, picturesque villages
  • Shelburne, Canada – an undiscovered gem, perfect for canoeing, bird-watching and sailing, with an historic waterfront and fine seafood restaurants
  • Hvar, Croatia – known as the ‘St. Tropez of the Adriatic’, this idyllic island—just off the Dalmatian coast—offers fragrant pine forests, olive groves, fruit orchards and fields of lavender, thanks to its exceptionally warm and sunny climate

Highlights of Fred. Olsen’s new 2014/15 cruise programme include:

  • Two incredible ‘Voyages of a Lifetime’ on BALMORAL and BLACK WATCH in 2015, visiting a combined total of 82 ports in 40 countries worldwide
  • Completely new for Fred. Olsen…its first-ever ‘Mystery Cruise’! Departing from Tilbury in November 2014 for 14 nights…who knows where BLACK WATCH will take you?
  • ‘Fast Cars & Film Stars’; this exhilarating BLACK WATCH cruise combines the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix
  • Three new ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’ cruises in winter 2014, by popular demand
  • Black Sea odysseys on BALMORAL and BOUDICCA, taking in ‘The Pearl of the Black Sea’, Odessa, Sevastopol in the Ukraine and unmistakable Istanbul
  • BALMORAL’s 32-night voyage to Canada and the eastern seaboard of the United States visits bustling New York and gives guests a glimpse of the sensational ‘Fall’ colours
  • BRAEMAR’s ‘Canary Islands’ summer cruise, with a chance to see the Perseid Meteor Shower, a truly celestial experience!
  • BALMORAL’s 34-night ‘Caribbean & Cuba’ cruise, departing in November 2014, which boasts more than just sand, sea and surf! Heralding a welcome return to Bermuda, this cruise offers an overnight stay in the iconic, beguiling Cuban capital, Havana
  • BRAEMAR’s special commemorative ‘D-Day’ cruise to Dunkirk in June 2014

In 2012, Fred. Olsen was awarded ‘Best Value for Money’ and ‘Best for Itineraries’ in the Cruise Critic Editors’ Awards, and was also named ‘Best Affordable Cruise Line’ and ‘Best for Learning’ by readers of Cruise International magazine, along with being ‘highly commended’ in the ‘Best Cruise Line’ and ‘Best Shore Excursion’ categories.

The Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ‘Launch Brochure’ for the new 2014/15 itineraries will be unveiled in the week commencing 22nd April 2013, and these specially-selected cruise offers will be on sale from Wednesday 24th April 2014.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.fredolsencruises.com

PR-inside

See also: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines expands UK regional departures from 2014

 

A revitalised cruise ship terminal will help Hobart cash in on the booming cruise ship industry.

The $AUD7 million Tasports facility on Macquarie Wharf No.2 includes an Antarctic cargo and quarantine hub to reduce the risk of rats and other vermin travelling south.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings and Tasports chairman Dan Norton lauded the transformation of the facility, off Hunter Street.

“We’ve seen a disused storage shed resurrected as a world-class venue that enhances two of our great Tasmanian strengths—tourism and research,” Ms Giddings said yesterday at the official opening.

Cruise Down Under general manager Jill Abel said the site would enhance the experience of tourists and facilities for cruise ship operators, with smooth passenger transfers and security checks.

“Already we know we’ll have an extra 10 large cruise ship visits into Hobart.”

She said 65 ships were so far booked to visit Tasmania, up from 55.

“Cruise ships are getting larger and longer.”

She said Hobart had the benefit of a deep harbour and a key position on the popular route from Sydney to Auckland.

Ms Giddings said the terminal would create “a fantastic first impression” for international cruise ship passengers.

“It provides the infrastructure needed to strengthen our reputation as an international hub for Antarctic and Southern Ocean research,” she said.

At the eastern end is a federally funded Australian Antarctic Division cargo and quarantine centre with offices, cold storage and fumigation areas.

It has vermin traps, impenetrable walls and automatic shutter doors.

“This new facility will improve the efficiency of our screening, processing and management of all cargo and equipment to help prevent the introduction of non-native animals or plant species,” AAD director Dr Tony Fleming said.

“The cruise terminal will provide a spacious and comfortable area for expeditioners and their families to farewell or welcome home their loved ones, as well as providing easier access to Antarctic ships.”

Architect firm Circa Morris Nunn designed the terminal and in July last year Fairbrother began building it.

The Mercury

 

Artist’s impression of the new domestic terminal

The Australian federal government has approved a new $AUD400 million domestic terminal for Melbourne, with the aim of easing congestion and driving economic growth.

Anthony Albanese, federal minister for Infrastructure and Transport, approved the development and said expanding airports is necessary to connect Australia to the world and drive economic growth.

This new terminal will be able to handle up to 10 million visitors per year and is the first stage of the airport’s southern precinct project. According to the australian.com.au it “will include 17 new aircraft parking bays, extra car parking, ground transport facilities and road upgrades.”

The terminal is expected to open by the middle of 2015.

Travel Monitor

 

Brisbane Airport releases iPhone app

Brisbane Airport has released a free iPhone app that gives travellers instant access to information about departures and arrivals, parking products, pricing and pre-booking, shopping and dining, terminal maps, directions and navigation to the airport, and things to do and see in Brisbane and beyond.

There is a ‘My Trip’ function so travellers can interact with and save flight details to their phone, which can then be shared on Facebook and Twitter.  Travellers can also take and save a picture of their parking location within the ‘My Trip’ planner to help find their car when they return.

The app is part of BAC’s broader digital strategy aimed at investigating initiatives to help improve the passenger experience and efficiencies at the airport.

Visit the iTunes Store to download the app.

Travel Monitor

 

Liberia hosted 140 international guests on board the prestigious NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER cruise ship docked in Monrovia’s main port for a visit to the capital city. The stop-over is part of a 33-night cultural voyage from South Africa to Morocco.

This visit was the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER’s second visit to Liberia. The ship’s guests were made up of distinguished historians, scientists, naturalists and cultural experts who were hosted on their visit by local tour company Barefoot Liberia, who specialise in Liberian travel experiences.

The guests were welcomed by guest speaker and prominent Liberian business man, Chid Liberty who shared with them his views on the rising success of social enterprises in Liberia and Africa. As well, US Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, welcomed the mostly American tourists to Liberia.

The tourists were led on a tour of the city by Barefoot Liberia’s local guides before embarking on the next leg of their journey to Sierra Leone.

The ship’s first visit to Liberia last year marked a historical moment as the largest group of tourists to visit Liberia at one time, and only the second cruise liner to dock and visit the city since the late 1970s according to records from the Freeport and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. The ship’s return demonstrates the huge success for Liberia and its continued growing peace and stability as Liberia becomes a true tourist destination.

Co-founder of Barefoot Liberia, Seanan Denizot who organised the whole itinerary for their stay in the city says, “The company’s mission is to give Liberians a platform on which is to promote an alternative image of Liberia and West Africa, furthering the regions increasing stability, growing business industries, and of course its incredible landscape and rich history.”

She continues, “this ship’s visit is an incredible opportunity for Liberia to share with the world its hospitality and beauty. We are grateful to the admiration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism and the National Port Authority for their assistance in making this a huge success once again.”

Tourism is becoming a growing industry in Liberia, as the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism currently estimates over 700 tourist visiting Liberia since January 2013 alone.

Barefoot Liberia is excited to be part of this impact that could help bring many more tourist dollars into the country and they hope that the National Geographic’s second visit will encourage more travellers to visit this extraordinary country.

To find out more about Barefoot Liberia visit their web page at www.barefootliberia.com or find them on Facebook.

AllAfrica via The Inquirer

 

Port of Kiel expects busy year ahead

AIDA Cruises’ AIDAcara berthed at Ostseekai on 13 April, marking the start of the 2013 cruise season at the Port of Kiel in Germany.

The vessel will homeport in Kiel during the summer season and offer 24 northern Europe itineraries, calling at Iceland, Spitzbergen and the North Cape.

Dirk Claus, managing director of the Port of Kiel, said: “We expect an increase of more than five per cent in passenger totals this year. During peak periods, we expect as many as 11,000 passengers and a correspondingly large amount of luggage at the cruise terminal.”

Kiel is scheduled to receive 21 ships and 128 calls this year, with visits from Colour Line and Stena Line, as well as Costa Cruises’ COSTA PACIFICA calling eight times and four cruise ships berthing on 29 June. MSC POESIA and MSC MUSICA will also homeport in Kiel.

The Port of Kiel has invested in the expansion of its handling capabilities and recently started construction work to extend Berth One in Ostuferhafen, which will be operational from June 2013. Holland America Line’s EURODAM will be the first ship to use Berth One on 9 June.

Claus said: “Initially Berth One will help ease stop-over traffic at the existing Ostseekai Cruise Terminal; from next year passenger exchanges will also be possible on this berth.”

Cruise and Ferry

 

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, today announced that it has implemented a program to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introduce new fire safety technology, and improve the level of operating redundancies across its entire 24-ship fleet. This enhancement program will cost more than $USD300 million, and rapid upgrades have already begun.

The actions by Carnival Cruise Lines will expand the availability of hotel services for the comfort of its guests in the rare instance of a shipboard event that involves the loss of main power. In addition, the plan will reinforce key shipboard operating systems to further prevent a potential loss of primary power. The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH fire in February 2013.

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year.”

Increased Emergency Generator Power

The initial increase in emergency generator power across Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet of 24 ships will be completed over the next several months. An additional emergency generator will be installed on each vessel to provide for 100 percent of stateroom and public toilets, fresh water and elevators in the unlikely event of a loss of main power. The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.

“Although every ship in our fleet currently has emergency back-up power which is designed to enable the continuous operation of safety equipment and some hotel services, it is our intent to significantly bolster that back-up power to support the core hotel services. With this improvement, we will better ensure guest comfort in the rare instance of a loss of main power,” said Cahill.

Increased Fire Prevention, Detection and Suppression Systems

The company will also make additional investments in the newest and most technically advanced fire prevention, detection and suppression systems. This includes upgrading the existing water mist fire suppression systems already in place on Carnival vessels to the newest generation. When triggered, this high-pressure water mist system instantly creates a larger and thicker blanket of water droplets than the present system. As the water droplets evaporate, the system also rapidly cools any hot areas to prevent the possibility of a fire restarting.

“On CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, our fire systems were effective and our teams performed well in controlling and extinguishing the fire. However, we want to take advantage of the latest and most-advanced generation of fire safety systems to enhance the current extensive capabilities across our fleet,” added Cahill.

Enhanced Operating Redundancies

All of Carnival Cruise Lines ships have two separate, redundant engine rooms. The company’s operational review has identified modifications to further decrease the likelihood of losing propulsion or primary power, as happened on CARNIVAL TRIUMPH in February. The modifications will include a reconfiguration of certain engine-related electrical components. On ships where these enhancements will be made, the design and fabrication of specialized components will require longer lead times for completion, in contrast to the immediate upgrades to back-up emergency power and other systems.

Last month, Carnival Cruise Lines announced results from the first phase of the company’s operational review, specifically addressing CARNIVAL TRIUMPH and CARNIVAL SUNSHINE, both of which are currently out of service. The plan for each of these ships addresses each of the three areas outlined above.

Company to Form New Safety & Reliability Review Board

Carnival Cruise Lines also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board comprised of outside experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance. The company already receives oversight and input from outside regulatory authorities and industry experts. The new Review Board will provide an additional, independent third-party perspective, drawing from deep experience across a number of relevant fields and organizations.

The Review Board will be comprised of five external members. Active searches are underway for candidates with previous experience in organizations such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Transportation Safety Board, as well as leading airlines and equipment manufacturers.

“The formation of our Safety & Reliability Review Board is an integral part of how Carnival Cruise Lines will drive continuous improvement across our fleet. We will be responsive to its recommendations,” said Cahill.

Carnival Corporation & plc Fleet Enhancements

Parent company Carnival Corporation & plc previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 of its brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation’s fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation’s 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships, is expected to cost between $USD600 and $USD700 million.

“Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation & plc fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel. All findings from the operational review will be shared with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) as part of the industry-wide operational review announced in March.

PR Newswire

 

Not content to wait for them to appear on newbuild QUANTUM of the SEAS, Royal Caribbean will install its first virtual balconies on NAVIGATOR of the SEAS when it undergoes revitalization early next year.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein said the virtual balconies—an 80-inch LED projection screen that shows exterior images—will change how interior cabins are viewed.

“It’s going to bring a completely different feel to the experience,” Goldstein said at Royal Caribbean’s media conference on Tuesday to reveal some of the features of Quantum.

Disney Cruise Line introduced outside views from inside cabins in 2011, with the launch of Magical Portholes on the DISNEY DREAM.

The 4,100-passenger QUANTUM of the SEAS is under construction and is expected to enter service in November 2014.

The 3,100-passenger NAVIGATOR, which entered service in 2002, will go into drydock next January to get the Royal Advantage upgrade package. It is scheduled to sail from Galveston when the upgrades are complete.

Virtual balconies were one of the new features rolled out for QUANTUM, along with bumper cars, a sky diving attraction and a large observation pod on a mechanical arm.

Goldstein said there will not be a specific surcharge for interior cabins with virtual balconies, but added that he hopes they will bring higher yields.

“The whole experience will be more valuable to our guests and we expect that to be reflected in the ticket price,” he said.

Travel Weekly

 

Cruise tourism on the rise in Turkey

Turkey made a solid start to the year in terms of cruise tourism with an increase of 76.1 percent in the number of cruise ships visiting Turkey and a 108 percent increase in the number of tourists in the first quarter of the year.

Cruise tourism with luxurious ships, chosen by high-income people, has grown above the world average in Turkey in recent years. The number of tourists visiting Turkey with cruise ships have increased every year since 2004 except for 2009 due to the global economic crisis. The percentage increase was 15 in 2010 and 18 in 2011 compared to the previous year.

A total of 37 cruise ships visited Turkey in the first quarter and brought 58,329 tourists.

The most popular port was Kusadasi in Turkey’s western Izmir province with 14 cruise ships anchored, followed by Izmir and Istanbul ports.

World Bulletin

 

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is joining rival Cruise and Maritime Voyages in starting cruises from Bristol Avonmouth and Tilbury next year.

The line’s 2014/15 cruise programme will see its fleet of four ships—BALMORAL, BRAEMAR, BOUDICCA and BLACK WATCH—sailing from 10 UK ports: Southampton, Dover, Harwich, Tilbury, Avonmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Greenock (for Glasgow) and Belfast.

A launch brochure containing new itineraries will be available from Monday (April 22) with various cruise offers going on sale from April 24.

The line is to run its longest ‘grand voyage,’ a 119-night Far East cruise by BALMORAL. The itinerary is seven days longer than this year’s world cruise but visits 19 more ports, including 13 maiden calls.

New for next year is a 14-night mystery cruise from Tilbury on BLACK WATCH in November 2014, a Fast Cars & Film Stars sailing which combines the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, and two-night taster cruises.

Sales and marketing director Nathan Philpot said: “I am so excited about our new 2014/15 programme, which is based on extensive research with existing guests and, equally important, the wider market and those who are yet to cruise.

“We have listened to our guests’ needs, and much of the new programme is based on what customers want. For example, we have launched three new products types in 2014: ‘Inspirational Experiences’, such as ‘Film Stars & Fast Cars’ and ‘Northern Lights’; the new ‘Triple-City Cruise Break’, which allows our guests to truly discover destinations, with overnight stays in each city, and is a far more cost-effective option than flying and taking a hotel to each one; and new ‘Introductory Cruises’, with our first series of two-night cruises.

“I guess my heart has always been in the Far East since I joined Kuoni over ten years ago, so our 2015 ‘Asia Grand Voyage’ is very special, and I am personally delighted to have helped create a cruise that balances land and sea content, with some really wonderful and iconic places, such as Burma, Vietnam, China and the Maldives.”

Travel Weekly UK

 

Cruceros Australis has added a seven-night itinerary option to the three- and four-night cruises it offers between Chile and Argentina. The seven-night cruise is designed to avoid repeating ports of call.

Cruceros considers its ships platforms to see the area’s otherwise inaccessible natural beauty, said Jorge Rodriguez, the company’s Miami-based marketing director for North America.

“This is about amazing glaciers, wildlife, penguins, elephant seals and whales,” he said. “This is not about a cruise.”

Still, the company’s two ships provide a comfortable way to get around between the Chilean gateway of Punta Arenas and the Argentine port of Ushuaia.

Public areas on the 136-passenger VIA AUSTRALIA are warm and clubby, with many full-length windows to promote the views. Cabins are small and tidy, with white and blue linens.

The 210-passenger STELLA AUSTRALIA is bigger and newer and includes three lounges and a small workout area. Both are outfitted to deploy the Zodiac expedition boats that give passengers close encounters with the scenery and wildlife.

The new seven-night itinerary is only available on the VIA AUSTRALIA. It is a roundtrip from Punta Arenas that includes viewings of six glaciers, several bays and fjords and a trip to Cape Horn, the very southern tip of South America.

Cruceros Australis is marketed in the U.S. as Patagonia & Cape Horn Cruises, to make it a little easier to identify the product, Rodriguez said. It carried about 13,000 passengers last year, including 4,000 from the U.S., during an eight-month season that stretches from late September to early March.

Rodriguez emphasized that Cruceros Australis, owned by three Chilean brothers, can access many areas that typically aren’t seen on a passage by larger cruise ships through the Strait of Magellan.

“We’re the only ones who do what we do, so you hardly ever see other ships,” he said.

Read more at Travel Weekly