Cruiseblogger archive

Cruise News Daily's thoughts on things seen and heard around the internet and the cruise industry.

Go to current entries  
Go to newer entries

Thursday, December 30
From the following up on the plan department: When Celebrity originally announced their Xpeditions program, president Jack Williams said he wanted to have offerings of hybrid product operating in each of the line's worldwide areas where they cruise, in addition to new areas such as the Galapagos, Antarctic and Arctic, which are currently operating. Celebrity is working their way toward that goal with some new Xpeditions programs that will be announced in January.

Wednesday, December 29
From the happy family department: Even in the best of families, there are disagreements during holiday celebrations. In the early morning hours of Boxing Day (December 26), two members of Coral Princess' cleaning crew (normally not in contact with passengers) got into an argument in the crew quarters which resulted in one being stabbed by the other. The "stabee" was treated in the ship's medical facility and transferred to a shoreside hospital when the ship arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on December 28. (There was some internal bleeding, but he is reported in good condition.) Princess reported the incident to the FBI and Broward County authorities who investigated and decided not to take any action since the incident took place between two foreign nationals in international waters. Princess says they held the aggressor in custody, terminated his employment and sent him home to the Philippines. Princess also referred the matter to local authorities in Manila. It seems the Christmas spirit of peace and goodwill can only last so long. 

Tuesday, December 28
From the everybody wants to ride a helicopter department: Helicopter evacuations of passengers aren't that unusual anymore, but the passengers on Carnival's Paradise must have been going for some kind of a record on the Christmas cruise. Last Saturday, the ship's medical team asked the Coast Guard to evacuate a passenger who had sustained a serious injury to her hand and take her to a hospital in San Diego. By the time the helicopter arrived, another passenger had suffered a heart attack and was airlifted to the hospital on the same helicopter. But then less than eight hours later, Paradise put in a call for the helicopter to return for a third passenger who had suffered a stroke and needed to reach a shoreside hospital as quickly as possible. Three passengers in one day on a 3-night cruise; it's gotta be a record.

Thursday, December 23
From the declining fortunes department: Figures just released show the world's busiest cruise port, the Port of Miami, is a little less busy these days with declines in the number of cruise passengers boarded. The port has been losing cruise business since 9-11 as a result of cruise lines establishing homeports at numerous places around the country outside the traditional South Florida "cruise capital," but this year, as the main culprits, the port cites the loss of Norway's weekly turnarounds at the port and last fall's hurricanes. Even though the number of passengers declined by 12%, the port still handled 3.5 million passengers, a figure most ports would love to have even a fraction of. The port said they expect figures to rebound to about 4 million next year thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines basing the new larger Carnival Valor there. 

Wednesday, December 22
From the not everyone is a player department: It seems like there is most always a crowd in ships' casinos. And why not? It's exciting with the bells going off and people winning (and losing) lots of money with just one turn of the cards or pull of a handle. Casinos are profitable operations for cruise lines, and literally major businesses on their own within the cruise line business. Yet as common as they are on cruise ships, only a minority of passengers ever put a quarter in a slot machine or play a hand of cards. Carnival Cruise Lines' president Bob Dickinson last week said that only about 30% of there passengers ever play in their casinos.

Tuesday, December 21
From the loyalty has its rewards department: Royal Caribbean's past passengers (Crown & Anchor Society members) will have first crack at booking space on the new "Ultra Voyager" class ship, Freedom of the Seas which is scheduled to enter service in April of 2006. The line will begin accepting bookings from C&A members on February 28, 2005. Inventory will then be opened to the general public about two weeks later. During the "members only" booking period, reservations will only be accepted through Royal Caribbean's Loyalty Center and through travel agents, and passengers must have a Crown & Anchor number. The space will not be opened for sale in the line's computer system accessible to travel agents or on the line's website until approximately mid-March.

Monday, December 20
From the gracious godmother department: Katie Couric christened Carnival Valor Friday evening in Miami, and following at the godmother's reception, Ms. Couric did a couple of things one seldom, if ever, sees a godmother do. After arriving in the ship's Eagle Lounge with Carnival president Bob Dickinson, he announced that the godmother had offered to pose for pictures with anyone who wanted to. She seemed genuinely pleased to do so and chatted for a few moments with each person. Unfortunately, demand overwhelmed her time, and only a few dozen people got pictures, before Ms. Couric gave the crowd of a couple hundred invited guests another surprise. Traditionally the godmother is presented with several very nice (read that: expensive) pieces of jewelry as gifts by both the cruise line and the ship's builder. The godmother often gasps, then politely displays the jewelry in its box, and it's quickly closed and goes who-knows-where. Ms. Couric, however, after admiring the necklace given her by Carnival, took off the jewelry she was wearing and put on her new necklace to wear for the rest of the evening. Whether she truly liked it or was just being polite, Ms. Couric was one of the most gracious ladies we've seen handle the godmother duties in a long time. (Speaking of good manners, Ms. Couric has obviously passed those on to her daughter, who sat quietly by herself on the couch in the audience each time her mom was called back on stage for another presentation.)

Wednesday, December 15
From the beehive of activity department: When Sovereign of the Seas was in drydock at Freeport for its major refit, only about 10% of the workers came from the yard. Instead about 90% of the work was done by contractors who were specialists in their areas. The line had more than 500 containers of supplies shipped in from Europe for the project, and at the height of the work, there were 1,600 contractors onboard the ship at the same time in Freeport. 

Tuesday, December 14
From the most people skip them department: Things are as neat covering the cruise industry as you think. If you've recorded a TV show to watch later, when it comes to a commercial you skip it, right? Carnival Cruise Lines is about to launch a completely new advertising campaign (the largest advertising buy in their history). Of course they  know we'll want to write about what's different, so what comes in the mail last week? A tape full of their new commercials. Somehow, it just didn't seem right coming to the beginning of each commercial on my VCR and not skipping it.

Friday, December 10
Another place to grab a burger: The majorly refurbished Sovereign of the Seas is debuting to the trade tomorrow, and Royal Caribbean has decided to add something to the ship that they didn't add to any of their other ships undergoing the "rejuvenation" process, a Johnny Rockets restaurant. On the previous rejuvenations, Monarch of the Seas and Empress of the Seas, they've included other "premium" indulgences such as the Seattle's Best coffee shop ("Latte-tudes") and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but Johnny Rockets has only appeared on the Voyager-class and Radiance-class newbuilds. Sovereign has lots of new stuff, but just like on its largest sisters, Johnny Rockets will probably be one of the hottest tickets. 

Thursday, December 9
From the quality work takes time department: Anyone who has ever had a house repaired or remodeled or built can attest to the work seldom being completed when they tell you it will be, and you can empathize with Princess. Earlier we reported that their internal goal was to have the storm damage at Princess Cays repaired by December 15, but they tell us that's not going to happen. The work isn't being completed as quickly as anticipated. The goal has now been revised to having the first ships return there at the (less precise) end of January. 

Tuesday, December 7
From the second time's a charm department: Yesterday Princess announced they will name their next ship, due in 2006, Crown Princess, reusing the name of the ship which left the fleet in 2002 and is now sailing for sister line Aida. But this isn't the first time they planned to reuse that name. Originally, Caribbean Princess, which entered service earlier this year, was to carry the Crown Princess name, but when the line decided to emphasize their presence in the Caribbean, they renamed the ship, still under construction to reflect that it would be permanently deployed in the Caribbean.

Monday, December 6
From this year's deal department: The bargain in the Caribbean this winter seems like it's going to be MSC Cruises as they establish their identity as a premium line. After last year's season, the management in Italy realized if they were going to be a player in the American market, they needed someone who understands the American market, so they hired Rick Sasso (who was the driving force behind Celebrity's rise to prominence) to head up the operation along with an equally experienced team, most of whom worked with him at Celebrity. He's taking the line into the premium category. Many of the elements are there now, but like anything, it takes time to have everything in place and operating perfectly. MSC Opera began it's Caribbean season last Saturday, and it's solidly in the upper mass market "with a bullet." By the end of the season (and probably before) they should be hitting their target. But while they are making their name, they have some outstanding bargains they've put in the market. (The staterooms are small for a premium-class line, but they are all about the same size. The standard insides and outsides are the same size. The size of the actual staterooms of the balcony accommodations, are only slightly larger, so if a balcony isn't important to you, go with an outside and save the money. You have to move to a suite, also bargain-priced, to get the space in a standard balcony cabin on the other premium lines.) The pricing that MSC is putting out there right now, definitely makes MSC worth looking at.

Thursday, December 2
From the so-long to old friends department: Holland America's 1984-built Noordam quietly left the HAL fleet a couple weeks ago when it was handed over to British-based Thomson Cruises in Lisbon. Technically, it's only on long-term charter to Thomason, but Carnival Corp never intends to put it back into the fleet of any of their brands. So old friends can still visit Noordam as it sails for Thomason after a multi-million pound refurbishment. But fear not; HAL won't be Noordamless for long. They will recycle the name on the next Vista-class ship which is scheduled to enter service in January of 2006.

Go to earlier entries
Cruise News Daily Home

Google Web
Cruise News Daily Headlines










Free shipping & 110% price guarantee when shopping at eBags

Click here for luggage at

Click here for Travel Accessories


Offering over 2 million products to over 6 million customers,® is the Internet retailer of choice.  With categories ranging from computer hardware to software, from electronics to cellular, from books to movies, from music to toys, and tons more, we've got whatever it is you're craving 24/7, all year long. Logo Black

Copyright 2004 by Cruise News Daily. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced, rewritten or retransmitted without express permission of Cruise News Daily.