- Mayor of Falmouth, Jamaica, Says Town Is Not Ready for Ships
- Higher Cruise Prices Coming?
- NCL Announces Largest European Deployment Ever
- Carnival Splendor Cancels More Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Brilliance Hit by High Seas
- Cunard Appoints Its First Female Captain
- Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuities to $11.65 Per Day
- Three Cunard Queens to Rendezvous in New York Harbor
- Holland America Holds Essay Contest for Free Cruise
- Mary Hart as Godmother of Oceania Cruises Marina
- Carnival Announces Cruise with Bret Michaels
Cruise News Archive Who cares about old news? We do! Years: 2000 - 2012 CruiseMates RSS News Feed
Add CruiseMates to your My Yahoo See the Newest Updated TSA Security Requirements and Passport Required for All Cruisers, Starting June 1st, 2009.
12-27-10 Mayor of Falmouth, Jamaica, Says Town Is Not Ready for Ships Collin Gager, Mayor of Falmouth, Jamaica, doesn't think businesses in the town are ready for the first cruise ship scheduled to arrive the next week. On January 7, cruise liner Navigator of the Seas, is expected to dock at the just-built Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier.
Royal Caribbean, especially, as well as Holland America and a few other cruise lines, had high hopes that Falmouth could create an appealing stop for cruise ships. The town is considered an historic landmark, and one of the best preserved 18th Century cities in the West Indies. Royal Caribbean had planned to use it as a featured port of call for its flag ship Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Part of the appeal of the town is its traditional architecture, but that is in need a substantial amount of repair.
Other factors of appeal include its proximity to other well-known Jamaica tourist destinations like the Martha Brae River Rafting experience. This river ride is a 90 minute journey along the Martha Brae River (originally the Matibereon River) which was origiannly used to transport sugar cane to the sea on 30foot bamboo rafts. Legend says that an old Arawak witch changed the course of the river to drown a group of Spanish treasure hunters who tried to make her lead them to the Arawak gold.
The town is also close to the Dunn's River Falls and a new attraction called Dolphin Cove, both of them nearby Ocho Rios, another cruise ship port stop in Jamaica.
However, Falmouth Mayor Gager says local businesses have not been doing enough to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the arrival of these cruise ships. Both Oasis and Allure of the Seas were scheduled to begin port stays in Falmouth as of January 2011, calling every Wednesday and Thursday and bringing 600,000 visitors annually.
But those regular stops have been moved back to May. The visit by Navigator of the Seas on January 7 will be a trial balloon to see how far along the town has come in its restoration efforts, and whether it is ready to be used as a dispatch center for other Jamaica attractions.
The mayor says the Government is doing its part, but he says the local businesses have to get ready for the coming opportunities. Visitors are expected to spend a projected US$100 each, earning the parish approximately $5 billion annually.
12-24-10 Higher Cruise Prices Coming? We are starting to get notices from cruise lines and individual travel agents that some cruise lines are planning prices increases or the end of incentives as of the first of January.
One of the cruise lines stating this is Oceania. Seabourn is also said to be about the raise prices (or end incentives, depending upon how you look at it). I have also gotten word from some travel agents, such as luxury specialst Eric Goldring, that Regent and Silversea are also planning price increases.
The bottom line is this - that with the end of the year comes value season, and the beginning of wave season, the strongest cruise sales season of them all. Now, cruise prices are like airline tickets, price is based upon demand/ If there is a lot of demand for cruises right now the prices will go higher.
This does not mean it will become impossible to find a cruise bargain, it just means you may have to look harder in the future. If there are any bargains to be had, chances are they will come with last minute sailings, shoulder season sail dates and less popular itineraries.
For example, we are seeing the Caribbean getting fairly crowded this January, especially out of Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Galveston is also a pretty crowded embarkation city. This is where I would look for bargains this summer.
Another place to shop for bargains is in the mainstream and premium cruise lines where there is much more capacity. Princess, Carnival, NCL and older ships from Royal Caribbean and some Holland America may be bargains on certain sailings.
As always, the trick is to be date flexible. The dates that almost always have discounts are early December and early January (but not the holiday sailings). You are most likely to get stuck paying much more if you decide you just have to have a specific ship on a specific sail date. This kind of situation occurs with family reunion cruises, for example. These group get-togethers tend to happen when the kids have some time off from school for spring break, etc. Try to stay away from those dates as much as possible.
Unfortunately, the days when you could lock in a sail date at any price and then get a discount if fare later went down have gone away - there are no more price guarantees. Bottom line, this means that in the future we are more likely to see last minute bargains, and only on ships that have not sold out. The best cabins will be already taken in most cases.
We kept telling you "you know it is hard for us to recommend buying a cruise when the economy is so tough," but now that there are signs the economy is getting better and cruise prices are going up, the truth is that you may not see low prices again - like we had in the last year - for a very long time.
12-25-10 NCL Announces Largest European Deployment Ever Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its largest European deployment ever for the 2012/2013 season with four Freestyle Cruising ships, including two year-round. Norwegian Spirit will join Norwegian Jade sailing year-round in Europe beginning in April 2012. This is also the first time Norwegian Spirit will sail in Europe offering 12-day Grand Mediterranean voyages in the summer and fall, along with nine-day Canary Islands in the winter and spring. The company's largest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Sun will continue cruising seasonally from Barcelona and Copenhagen respectively.
These cruises go on sale to Norwegian's top travel partners and Latitudes members (past guests) today, December 15, 2010 and to the general public on Thursday, December 16.
"Europe is one of the world's fastest growing cruise markets and one where Freestyle Cruising is very well received. Given this, we felt it was the right time to deploy four ships, including two year-round, in Europe, marking our largest European deployment in the company's history," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "Guests now have the flexibility of embarking from four homeports in Europe sailing to some of the most exciting destinations in the world."
The 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit will make her European debut with two memorable itineraries including a 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from Venice, Italy and Barcelona, Spain during the summer, and a nine-day Canary Islands cruise from Barcelona through the fall and winter. The 12-day Grand Mediterranean sailings run from April 28, 2012 to October 25, 2012 and begin in either Barcelona or Venice and call on Provence (Toulon), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy; Mykonos and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Istanbul and Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey. The nine-day Canary Islands cruises from Barcelona will sail from November 6, 2012 to April 8, 2013 and call on Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz de Tenerife; and Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands; and Granada (Málaga), Spain. Norwegian Spirit will also sail an 11-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Venice on July 9, 2012 and a 13-day Grand Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona on July 20, 2012.
Continuing her year-round sailings in Europe, the 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade will sail seven unique itineraries with ports of call in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Israel, and Egypt from her homeports of Rome (Civitavecchia) and Venice, Italy. Norwegian Jade will continue her popular alternating seven-day Greek Isles and Greece and Turkey cruises departing on Saturdays from Venice from April 28, 2012 to October 6, 2012. The Greek Isles cruises call on Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Olympia (Katakolon), Greece. The Greece and Turkey sailings call on Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey. Since there is no port repetition between the two itineraries, they can be easily combined on most sailings to create a port-rich 14-day European tour.
Also from Venice, Norwegian Jade will sail a six-day Croatia and Greece cruise on July 14, 2012; and an eight-day Greek Isles and Turkey cruise on July 20, 2012, as well as a seven-day Adriatic and Italy cruise on October 13, 2012 with disembarkation in Rome (Civitavecchia).
From Rome, Norwegian Jade will sail alternating 11-day Mediterranean & the Holy Land cruises departing on Saturdays and 10-day Eastern Mediterranean cruises departing on Wednesdays from October 20, 2012 to April 17, 2013. The Mediterranean and the Holy Land cruises call on Alanya, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; and Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt. The Eastern Mediterranean cruises call on Olympia (Katakolon) and Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; and an overnight stay in Alexandria, Egypt.
Norwegian's newest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, will return to Barcelona sailing a series of 25 seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from April 29 to October 14, 2012. The ship will call on Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; and Nice (Villefranche) and Provence (Marseille), France. In addition, Norwegian Epic will sail one four-day Western Mediterranean cruise on April 25, 2012.
Norwegian Sun will continue sailing her nine-day Baltic Capital cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark from May 4 to September 7, 2012 calling on Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; an overnight stay in St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. Norwegian Sun will also sail one 14-day Norway, Iceland & Faroe Islands cruise on September 16, 2012 calling on Bergen, and Alesund, Norway; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; Reykjavik, Iceland; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland and Dublin, Ireland.
In addition, there are five opportunities for guests to have an experience of a lifetime crossing the Atlantic with Norwegian's Transatlantic cruises. Norwegian Epic offers two options: an 11-day Transatlantic from Miami to Barcelona on April 14, 2012 and a 13-day Transatlantic from Barcelona to Miami on October 21, 2012. Norwegian Spirit offers a 13-day Transatlantic from New Orleans to Barcelona on April 15, 2012. Norwegian Sun crosses the Atlantic on April 21, 2012 from Orlando (Port Canaveral) to Copenhagen and back to Miami from Copenhagen on September 30, 2012.
12-15-10 Carnival Splendor Cancels More Cruises Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled additional departures of the Carnival Splendor including the January 16, 23, 30 and February 6 and 13, 2011 voyages to allow for additional repair time following an engine room fire aboard the vessel in November. The ship is now scheduled to re-enter service February 20, 2011.
As repairs have progressed and damaged components tested, additional issues have been discovered. Also, some of the needed parts are not readily available and are being manufactured in Europe. The ship is currently in San Diego, however, it will sail to San Francisco in mid-January where repairs will be completed at a dry dock facility.
"We sincerely apologize to our guests for having to cancel these additional cruises," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO. "We made our best effort back in November to estimate the necessary repair time with a strong goal of not having to modify it at a later point in time. Unfortunately, as the repairs have progressed and we have discovered additional issues, it is now clear that we need more time. We know this is extremely disappointing for our guests and particularly disheartening for those who already had their vacations cancelled once and are now being affected again."
Guests booked on the cancelled voyages will receive a refund or future cruise credit equal to the amount paid, along with reimbursement of air transportation-related change fees. Those who re-book may also receive a 25 percent future cruise discount and/or onboard credit depending on the ship and sailing date of the new booking. Additional details are available at carnival.com.
Carnival is contacting travel agents and guests affected by the new cancellations to provide assistance. Travel agent commissions on cancelled sailings are being protected.
Carnival Splendor operates year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages from Long Beach, Calif.
12-13-10 Royal Caribbean Brilliance Hit by High Seas Captain Greybeard of the U.K.'s Dail Mirror web site is reporting that Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was hit by high seas near Alexndria, Egypt. The article reports that passengers were thrown from their beds when Brilliance hit heavy weather in the Eastern Mediterranean on Sunday, causing it to roll several times.
About 30 of the 2,100 passengers on board suffered minor injuries, some by treading on broken glass, after the incident at about 2.45 in the morning.
Furniture was thrown around in cabins and throughout the ship, and the Christmas tree (above) in the ship's Centrum was toppled. Fitness equipment in the gym, tables in the casino, and displays in the shops were all tossed about.
One passenger told Cruise Critic that the Windjammer buffet restaurant was "a disaster area," but that it was open for business later in the day.
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises said: "The ship has full power and is sailing as normal. They do not have any food shortages on board. All power and toilets are working normally . . . no one has been seriously injured."
The visit to Alexandria was cancelled and the ship turned for Valetta, in Malta, where it is expected to spend two days in port. Storms in the area sank a cargo ship near the Israeli port of Ashdod, and caused flooding on land.
12-9-10 Cunard Appoints Its First Female Captain When Inger Klein Olsen assumed command of Cunard Line's Queen Victoria on Wednesday, 1 December 2010, she made history by becoming the venerable shipping line's first female captain.
Captain Olsen's first task at the helm of Queen Victoria was to take the ship, without passengers, to drydock in Hamburg for its planned refit. Next Wednesday, 15 December, she will be on the bridge as the ship sets sail with a full complement of guests.
Forty-three-year-old Captain Olsen was born and raised in the Faroe Islands, which accounts for her maritime abilities, and she joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on board Caronia. In 2001 she transferred to the Seabourn fleet, which at that time was part of Cunard. She sailed on Seabourn Sun and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to the rank of Staff Captain on Seabourn Pride in 2003.
Following some years with other companies within the Carnival Corporation group, Captain Olsen returned to Cunard in August this year as Deputy Captain of Queen Victoria.
"While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard. "But as Mark Twain drily observed, 'the folks at Cunard wouldn't appoint Noah himself as captain until he had worked his way up through the ranks.' Inger has certainly done that," Shanks continued, "and we are delighted to welcome her as our first woman driver."
Olsen will helm Queen Victoria during the ship's debut Americas season, commencing from New York to Los Angeles on 13 January. During the first 17-day voyage, the ship will call on Ft. Lauderdale and Bonaire, transit the Panama Canal, and visit three ports in Mexico - Huatulco, Acapulco and Manzanillo - before arriving into Los Angeles on 30 January. Captain Olsen will take her leave on 13 February.
Queen Victoria's Americas season continues until 18 March, and features several transits through the Panama Canal, four calls to Los Angeles, two roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and one Getaway voyage to Mexico.
Captain Olsen lives in Denmark.
12-9-10 Royal Caribbean Raises Gratuities to $11.65 Per Day Royal Caribbean International is adjusting the cruise line's recommended gratuities guideline for sailings that commence on or after July 1, 2011. The new recommended daily gratuities for dining staff and housekeeping staff will be a total of $11.65 per guest per day, and $13.90 per suite guest per day. This will be Royal Caribbean's first gratuities guideline adjustment in 13 years.
This adjustment is the result of a long period of consideration and assessment that places the cruise line's recommendations in line with its competitors. All guests who prepay gratuities or select the My Time Dining flexible dining program before 12:01 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on December 11, 2010, for sailings on or after July 1, 2011, will not be affected by the adjusted guideline.
Gratuities will continue to be given at the discretion of each guest, except for guests who choose My Time Dining, which require prepaid gratuities. These guidelines provide a recommendation that helps guests determine the appropriate gratuity amount to reward the cruise line's staff and crew for delivering the outstanding Gold Anchor Service on a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. Sailing with Royal Caribbean still remains one of the best vacation values that offer guests the Royal Advantage, a range of some of the world's most innovative cruise ships, exclusive amenities, contemporary accommodations, award-winning entertainment, engaging and enlightening activities, a wide variety of delicious dining options, and exciting itineraries to compelling destinations around the world.
12-8-10 Three Cunard Queens to Rendezvous in New York Harbor On Thursday, 13 January 2011, Cunard Line's three luxury cruise ships flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth will meet together in New York Harbour for a true grand celebration, a Cunard Royal Rendezvous. The youngest fleet at sea is scheduled to depart at approximately 6:00 p.m. local time; Queen Mary 2 will depart from her home port, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, while Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will depart from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal Pier 90 and Pier 88, respectively. All three Queens will rendezvous at the Statue of Liberty for a spectacular Grucci fireworks celebration at approximately 6:45 p.m.
"This is another historic occasion for Cunard and New York, marking the second time in our 171-year history that our entire fleet of Queens will meet there in such celebratory fashion, and marking Queen Elizabeth's maiden call to our North America homeport," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. "We look forward to bringing this next meeting of our Queens to the great city of New York and continuing the pageantry and grand celebration that is Cunard."
Cunard's first Royal Rendezvous in New York was in 2008 when its fleet Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria met for the first and only time in New York as QE2 retired in November of that year, marking a historic moment in maritime history.
Thousands of travel and maritime enthusiasts will be joined by admirers to gather at ideal viewing locations to wish the magnificent fleet of Queens "Bon Voyage" and see the spectacular fireworks celebration. Viewing locations include: