Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jacksonville Cruise Terminal Evacuated

The cruise terminal at Jacksonville (Florida) was evacuated Saturday afternoon during the boarding process for Carnival's Celebration.

About 12:30pm, Carnival's security detected some suspicious material in one of the baggage pallets containing checked baggage to be loaded onto the ship. Authorities were called, and embarkation was stopped until all the baggage in that pallet could be thoroughly inspected. Nothing dangerous was found. There was also no bomb threat called in as some sources reported earlier.

Embarkation of Carnival's Celebration resumed about 6:30pm. The ship is now expected to depart at approximately 10pm. Arrival at the first port will not be delayed. Celebration is scheduled to sail tonight on a 5-day cruise to Key West and Nassau.

Updated Aug 25, 725pm

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

From the bouncing back department:

When Hurricane Dean tracked a bit farther south than was forecast, the island of Cozumel was spared much of the destruction that was expected.

The government reports that things are quickly returning to normal on the island. There is a status report with a detailed listing of the condition of facilities post-Hurricane Dean and their reopening times on the tourism board's official website. (Note: The site is rather busy and slow, for obvious reasons.) Yesterday, they promised photos today, but so far they haven't shown up. They do have other things on their mind, however.

Note: Link is valid at time of posting.

From the more time to say good-bye department:

Since Cunard announced Queen Elizabeth 2 would be retired, "The demand for QE2's 2008 voyages has been phenomenal, said Cunard president Carol Marlow. To satisfy some of that demand (and make some extra money) the line has decided to forgo some scheduled drydock time in April and schedule an additional 8-day cruise.

The extra voyage, called Iberia in Bloom, will depart Southampton on April 27 (2008) with calls at La Rochelle (for Cognac), Le Verdon (for Bordeaux), Bilbao, La Coruna (for Santiago de Compostela) and Lisbon.

Details are available from Cunard.

From the bailout department:

The Miami Herald reports that Windjammer Barefoot Cruises is about to receive a cash infusion from TAG Virgin Islands, a private equity firm, which will apparently end up controlling the cruise line. The article characterizes the four-ship operation as a "troubled company."

It seems to be, according to the article, because, among other reasons, three of the four ships are docked, two due to labor disputes. There are also stories of sailings that don't go because supplies aren't released to the line, passengers' hotels not being paid for as promised while they await the delayed departures, and so forth. The unverified reader comments posted to the article seem to tell similar tales.

The Herald article quotes a spokesman as saying it will take three to six months to implement new plans once the new investor takes the helm.

Note: Link is valid at the time of posting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

From the "fore" goodness sake department:

Norwegian Cruise Line has become the official cruise line of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

The three-year contract will work well in promoting NCL's Golf Hawaii and Golf Bermuda programs. The PGA Tour estimates they have 105 million fans and they are just NCL's demographic.

From the technically unrelated department:

Holland America confirmed to CND yesterday that the passengers aboard a small Seawind Aviation sightseeing plane that crashed in Alaska last Thursday were passengers who were ashore from Zuiderdam. The excursion was not one purchased from the cruise line, however. The passengers purchased it independently of their cruise. It is unknown if they booked it in advance or if it was an impulse purchase during the port call.

Ketchikan was the last port of call on Zuiderdam's 7-day round trip cruise from Vancouver, which departed August 11.

The plane crashed in the woods near Traitor's Cove, about 27 miles north of Ketchikan. The plane carried 7 passengers plus the pilot and a guide. The crash claimed the lives of five people, all passengers.

The NTSB said they are dedicating extra resources to this crash to see if there is any underlying causes in the flightseeing industry in the area, since it was just three weeks ago that a Taquin Air sightseeing plane, also based in Ketchikan, crashed while on a sightseeing flight with cruise passengers. Taquin was used as a shore excursion operator by several cruise lines.

Monday, August 20, 2007

From the Martinique report department:

Hurricane Dean roared past the Island of Martinique last Friday, and they now report they are again open and ready for tourists.

The airport opened on Saturday at noon. The Martinique Tourism Authority reports that landscaping suffered most of the damage, and visitors shouldn't hesitate to come.

More information can be found on the authority's website at

From the stuck in the mud department:

Cruise West's Spirit of Columbia ran aground and stuck in the mud in Prince William Sound near Evans Island on Sunday.

The ship apparently got too close to shore for sightseeing. It was refloated by midafternoon when the tide came in, and continued to Whittier.

The Coast Guard said no one was hurt and no fuel was spilled. As a precaution, the Coast Guard sent a cutter and a helicopter just in case they would be needed, but the ship refloated without incident.