Friday, October 31, 2008

Celebrity Solstice Maiden Arrival

If you live in South Florida, you might want to get up early on Monday (November 3) to see something you’ve never seen before.

Celebrity Solstice will be arriving at Ft. Lauderdale for the first time. The ship is the first of the Solstice Class, and it’s the first time it has ever called at a US port.

The ship is expected to arrive at the Port Everglades sea buoy at approximately 6am, and will be dockside by approximately 7am. Celebrity says that ideal viewing platforms include Fort Lauderdale Beach and surroundings.

The ship will be coming and going a lot over the next three weeks during its inaugural activities. Those include the naming ceremony on November 14.

Celebrity Solstice will officially enter service on November 23.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NCL to Eliminate Fuel Supplement

Norwegian Cruise Ling became the latest line to announce it would eliminate the fuel supplement for new bookings for 2010 and beyond as well as establishing guidelines for removing it from 2009 sailings.

The NCL announcement seems modeled most closely after Royal Caribbean's.

The line said that effective November 10, 2008, the fuel supplement will no longer be applied to bookings for 2010 sailings and beyond.

Like RCCL, NCL said they would be removed from existing bookings for 2009 and 2010 if "the closing price on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) of West Texas Intermediate fuel [is] below $65 per barrel two weeks prior to the beginning of the calendar quarter (dates specified below), the company will refund fuel supplements paid in the form of an on-board credit." The closing price on that date will determine eligibility for the refund for the entire quarter.

Details were in the October 30, 2008 edition of Cruise News Daily.

From the don't believe everything you read department

It seems that lately there have been several articles published by various media outlets that are either basically untrue or the headline and lead seem designed to seriously mislead the reader.

Here are the entries in our hall of shame:

The Mirror published an article that says a crew member aboard Queen Mary 2 murdered his girlfriend who was also his supervisor while the ship was in dry dock in Hamburg. It even goes on to say an autopsy will be held. The problem here is that the story is almost completely false. The altercation basically came down to a scuffle, according to Cunard. The man was taken into custody by police who took him in for questioning and later released him. The woman is still quite alive.

The Telegraph carried an article yesterday headlined, "Cruise passengers tossed into sea in high winds off northern Spain." That calls up visions of passengers on deck being blown off the deck into the ocean while the ship is at sea. Not exactly. The passengers were boarding the ship while strong winds were moving it, and the gangway which they were using fell into the water. While it's certainly a serious situation, it's not really the one the headline leads you to believe "off northern Spain." It happened right in port on the Spanish mainland.

And then there was the article entitled "Holidaymakers stranded in Liverpool dock after cruise is cancelled," which ran in the Mail, as well as similarly titled articles in other newspapers. That evokes images of passengers being in a strange city on their own with no way to leave or get home. Not exactly. It seems their short cruise, which embarked at Liverpool, was canceled due to bad weather just off shore. Instead of sailing the cruise line operated everything aboard the ship just as if they were at sea. Since it was a weather-related reason for the cancellation, the line was unwilling to provide a cash refund but did offer credits toward a future cruise. They even provided local sightseeing. Granted, there is a story in the customer service aspect, the passengers were hardly "stranded" as the title says.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Ocean Village to Cease Operations

Carnival Corp announced this afternoon that they will close their Ocean Village brand in the fall of 2009 and transfer the first ship to the P&O Australia brand in time for the 2009 Christmas season in Australia. The second will tranfer a year later.

The line said that it makes sense from a profit standpoint since the Australian market shows tremendous growth and profit potential. They feel that UK passengers who would have booked the Ocean Village brand can be absorbed into the growing P&O and Princess brands.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Radiance of the Seas Cancels 2009/10 South America

Royal Caribbean announced the cancellation of the South America program aboard Radiance of the Seas for the 2009/2010 season. (The 2008/2009 season is unaffected.)

Instead the ship will sail from San Diego on a new program of 4- to 12-night itineraries to Mexico.

Details and analysis of the ship appeared in the October 29, 2008 edition of Cruise News Daily.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carnival Liberty Cancels Europe in 2009

Carnival Cruise Lines announced they have canceled Carnival Liberty's northern Europe program for 2009 and will instead deploy the ship in the Caribbean.

At the same time, through other adjustments, the line will also launch Carnival Pride's Caribbean program from Baltimore on April 27, 2009 rather than their original September launch.

Details and analysis appeared in the October 28, 2008 edition of Cruise News Daily.

Constructions Starts for Next P&O

Fincantieri laid the keel today for P&O's next ship, a sister to Ventura.

P&O took the occasion to announce that they have chosen the name Azura for the vessel.

Delivery is set for the spring of 2010.

Details appeared in the October 27 edition of Cruise News Daily.