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Thursday, June 29, 2006
From the quiet department: When Princess Cruises installed Movies Under
the Stars on Sea Princess, because it was smaller than the Grand-class ships for
feature was designed, they broadcast the sound through wireless headphones
to better contain it and not add more sound to the small
pool area in addition to the normal poolside splashing and screaming. The headphones
have proven so popular that Princess has now decided to add them to the
Grand-class ships with Movies Under the Stars and utilize them for the daytime shows. For
nighttime shows, when the pool area is entirely dedicated to MUTS, the sound
will still be broadcast to the entire area and the headphones won't be necessary
in order that everyone can have the full movie experience. Installation is now ready to begin and
should be completed on all four of the ships with MUTS by the fall.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
From the measure of success department: According to one cruise line
executive, the success of any lounge or entertainer is measured by the bar
revenue during the time they are performing. (in addition to passenger comments,
of course), and it's closely monitored.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
From the fresh department: The lobsters served in the new Crown Grill
aboard Crown Princess will be the freshest at sea. They will be live lobsters,
but not loaded in New York and kept in a lobster tank for the entire cruise.
Instead the Maine lobsters are being flown in fresh and loaded aboard Crown
Princess (about 60 to 70 at a time) at three different ports along the
itinerary, every three days.
Monday, June 26, 2006
From the Springfield at sea department: Noted maritime historian John
Maxtone Graham's wife, Mary, tells Cruiseblogger that John's son, Ian's writing
has been enjoyed vastly more people than John's, despite John's numerous books
(and frequent lectures aboard cruise ship). Ian is a writer for the Simpson.
Prior to that, he did a stint as a writer for Saturday Night Live. We wonder
what will happen if the Simpsons ever go on a cruise.
Friday, June 23, 2006
From the price of Freedom department: Jamaican officials are pleased
Freedom of the Seas is calling at Montego Bay because, by their estimate, it
will annually infuse about $15 million (US) dollars into the local economy. But not
everyone is thrilled. The president of the Jamaica Hotel Assn says he still sees
the ship as a direct competitor with Jamaica's resorts, and he's worried
because, he says, "In terms of facilities and amenities, the hotels will
never be able to compete, especially not with the cost structure." Island
hotels never seem to understand the fact that most people are on cruise ships
because they want to cruise. Few of the passengers on the ships would probably ever
be staying in their hotels if they weren't on a ship, and probably not even
coming to their destination.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
From the stinky smoke department: The Port of San Francisco reported that
they have been running a program since September that has reduced sulfur
emissions from cruise ships, and to date has reduced the emissions by almost 20 tons.
The low-sulfur fuel that reduces the emissions costs the cruise lines more, but
half the difference is reimbursed through a grant by the EPA. There is about
$20,000 left in the San Francisco grant, which is about enough for eight more ships to
participate in the program. Next year the California Air Resources Board will
require all ships to use the low-sulfur fuel while in port or use shoreside
power if it is available.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
From the attention please department: Yesterday, Costa announced the
godmother of the new Costa Concordia will be model Eva Herzigova. The immediate
reaction among my colleagues (me, included) was, "Who?" Ms. Herzigova
is a Czech-born model who has been featured in international advertising
campaigns, and is much better-known in Europe and Italy than she is the US. My
colleagues who were complaining that they had never heard of Ms. Herzigova
were the same people who were complaining about Martha Stewart not being a
good choice for Crown Princess' godmother. It seems the godmother's role has
changed these days. Other than being the one to break the bottle, her sole role
has become to draw publicity to the new ship and christening. For either good
reasons or bad, Ms. Stewart certainly did that in a market which had within
a month seen the inaugural activities of Freedom of the Seas. Since Costa
Concordia is scheduled to sail in the Mediterranean and be homeported in Italy
for the immediate future, a supermodel well-known in Italy seems a good choice.
Italians stop and take note of beautiful women. For Americans, even if she just
made you stop and say, "Who? What ship?" then she has done her
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
From the much ado about nothing department: Beginning January 1, 2007,
all US citizens need to have a passport to enter the US. Cruise lines have been
working to have that deadline delayed by 12 to 18 months. They haven't felt the
passport office would be able to handle the demand, so it would hurt bookings.
Carnival Corp reported last week, however, the passport requirement may not be
deterring people. They said their bookings for the first quarter of next year,
when the law is currently scheduled to take effect, are strong and right on
track, and the requirement appears not to be having any effect on people's
future plans. They are continuing to press Congress for a delay however, because
they feel it still may hurt bookings late in the cycle, because there won't be
enough time for people to get passports if they suddenly decide they want to
travel in a month's time.
Monday, June 19, 2006
From the love and hate department: We are still fascinated by this
love/hate relationship port cities have with cruise ships. They see the huge
financial potential in having cruise ships call at their port. They actively
market themselves to cruise lines and compete with other ports for the coveted
call, upgrade facilities, and spend lots of money in the process. Then once the
ships are there, they are annoyed by the numbers of passengers, the potential
for environmental damage by some sort of accidental spill or so forth, and that
they aren't collecting the taxes from the passengers that they would if they
stayed for several days in a local hotel. A very striking example appeared last
week on the CBC website. There was a article
there saying a researcher, working on behalf of a local faction, says that cruise ship visits
the tourism industry from Prince Edward Island, because they are damaging the
province's "unique" image. He says the upscale type of traveler will
no longer see the destination as exclusive, and in the long run the cruise ship
visits will hurt the tourism industry there. Yet the same day on the same website,
actually even linked to the first story, was another article about tourism
officials being in a panic that a delay in dredging the Charlottetown harbor
might prevent a cruise ship call, and that would damage the port's image among cruise
lines. There are two sides to every story.
Friday, June 16, 2006
From the Cozumel update department: Carnival chairman Micky Arison said
today that the work to repair their pier in Cozumel, which was completely
destroyed by Hurricane Wilma, is proceeding. Right now they are still in the
process of removing the debris. When the new pier is completed it will be larger
than the one it replaced and rebuilt similar to the one Carnival built in Grand
Turk which can withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Right now, he estimates the new
pier won't be operational until early 2008, but he said they are doing
everything they can to expedite the process for an earlier completion. He also
said, "Go [Miami] Heat!"
Thursday, June 15, 2006
From the must be reading our minds department: NY Daily News columnist Lloyd
Grove reports that MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann thinks fellow MSNBC
personality Rita Cosby "is dumber than a suitcase full of rocks."
Obviously he saw her coverage of the case of missing Royal Caribbean passenger
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
From the don't try this at home department: Does your cruise line offer
passengers water skiing? While at sea? Despite what is shown in the linked
photo, not even Deutschland does, but the water skier in the picture was allowed
to do it as part of a German TV show. It is something you don't see everyday.
Check the story on Ananova.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
From the they've been Mooned department: The new purpose-built cruise
terminal at Norfolk (Virginia) has been named the Half Moone Cruise &
Celebration Center. It is named for the Half Moone Fort that was built in 1680
at the site the city of Norfolk would eventually be established. The $36
million, 80,000-square-foot facility is planned to open in March in time for the
inaugural of Royal Caribbean's seasonal service from the city. The Half Moone
will replace a temporary facility the port has been using for several
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