Friday, August 31, 2007

From the golf department:

It pays to have connections. NCL recently announced a new tie-in with the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Golf enthusiasts aboard Norwegian Crown will be some of the first to benefit from the relationship.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be played in Bermuda on October 16 and 17 at the Mid Ocean Club and the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. This year, Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera are among the participants, and Norwegian Crown passengers have an opportunity to see them play. NCL has arranged for passengers to attend both days of the tournament for a package price of $150. It must be pre-purchased through NCL's shore excursion department on the NCL website by September 14.

Bermuda is a top destination for golfers and the line has just expanded their golf program there to mirror their hugely successful one in Hawaii. The new program will feature more of Bermuda's top courses and include advance tee time bookings, Callaway club rentals, transportation to and from the course and assistance with planning golf tournaments. Package prices range from $85 to $269.

The new program is available now for the fall season and in 2008 when NCL will have their largest number of berths ever to Bermuda with sailings from five cities, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, and New York where NCL will be offering the only 7-day cruises to Bermuda.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

From the hold your fire department:

The Connecticut Cruise Ship Task Force was set up to attract cruise ships to Connecticut ports along with all the economic benefits they bring with them. Naturally they were excited when they finally secured a call at New London by Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. At 138,000 tons, and one of the largest cruise ships in the world, it is the largest ever to visit New London.

The Navy and Ft. Turnbull are major parts of the community. As part of the celebration of Explorer's arrival on Saturday (Sept 1), the task force asked the Navy to fire an 11-gun salute with their cannon as Explorer arrives as they have done for eleven other cruise ship calls the task force has been instrumental in securing.

The Day reports that the Navy has declined the request this time. It turns out that the task force might be a victim of their own success. The Navy says that their regulations allow the cannons to be fired for exceptional occasions. It seems that because this is the twelfth cruise ship call, the Navy doesn't consider it an exceptional occasion anymore.

According to The Day, it's creating a lot of hard feeling in town, but as far as Explorer's passengers go, we doubt they will notice there isn't cannon fire when they arrive.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

From the Costa Maya dept:

Carnival is the only line that had sailings scheduled to depart this weekend that were to call at Costa Maya. They are still working to get some permanent alternate schedules in place, since the port is expected to be closed through the winter. In the mean time, Carnival is still issuing revised schedules week by week, and here are the revised schedules for cruises departing this weekend. It should also be noted that this will mark Carnival's return to Belize after Hurricane Dean.
  • Carnival Fantasy sailing Sept 3 from New Orleans - will now call at Progreso (Sept 5 - 7am-4pm) and Cozumel (Sept 6 - 9am-5pm) - Note: this schedule will apply to all future 5-night sailings aboard Carnival Fantasy.

  • Carnival Holiday sailing Sept 1 from Mobile - will now call at Progreso (Sept 3 - 7am-4pm) and Cozumel (Sept 4 - 9am-5pm).

  • Carnival Legend sailing Sept 2 from Tampa - will now call at Grand Cayman (Sept 4 - 7am-4pm), Cozumel (Sept 5 - 9am-6pm), Belize (Sept 6 - 8am-5pm), and Roatan (Sept 7 - 8am-3pm).

  • Carnival Liberty sailing Sept 1 from Ft. Lauderdale - will now call at Cozumel (Sept 3 - 8am-5pm), Limon (Sept 5 - 10am-6pm) and Colon (Sept 6 - 7am-4pm).

  • Carnival Valor sailing Sept 2 from Miami - will now call at Grand Cayman (Sept 4 - 7am-4pm), Roatan (Sept 5 - 11am-6pm), Belize (Sept 6 - 8am-5pm) and Cozumel (Sept 7 - 8am-5pm).

From the fire department:

Most cruise lines were watching the fires in Greece carefully, not so much as a danger to the ships or their passengers, but rather so they wouldn't dock at a given port and have no sightseeing available to passengers.

When surveyed earlier this week, most lines were not reporting changes to their itineraries, however some said some individual shore excursions were canceled in selected ports. Costa was the only line we surveyed which had scheduled changes. Costa Serena replaced their call at Katakolon with one at Mykonos, and Costa Mediterranea called at Corfu in place of Katakolon.

Good news comes from our contacts at MSC Cruises. They advised us this morning that the Olympia historical ruins have now been reopened to the public, and they did not find it necessary to modify any of their ships' itineraries.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From the unreliable source department:

A lot of people consider themselves "in the know" because they get their information from bulletin boards. We always caution people to take the information they find there with a grain of salt, because you don't know who posted it or what their agenda was. Here's a good case in point of how a whole city got taken in:

Ever since Carnival Holiday started cruising from Mobile, the city has wanted more - a larger ship, a newer ship and/or a second ship. So last Friday when a Carnival press release showed up on the Cruise Critic bulletin board announcing a larger ship, news spread like wildfire around the Mobile area. The story got to the local newspaper very quickly on Friday, and being good journalists, they called Carnival to verify.

That's when the heady moment began to deflate. Carnival was surprised, to say the least. They had no plans to change ships in Mobile. They hadn't issued any press release. The press release posted on Cruise Critic was a hoax, but one very skillfully written to appear to be the real thing, and Carnival asked that Cruise Critic remove it.

The whole disappointing adventure is chronicled in an article in Mobile's Press-Register.

Post on the bulletin boards, if you must, but get your information from a reliable news source - and bulletin boards aren't very reliable.

Note: Link is valid at time of posting.

Monday, August 27, 2007

From the picked up by the counter narcotics force department:

An 82-year-old woman was was "picked up" from Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas by part of the US Coast Guard's counter narcotics force on Monday evening.

Actually, the woman suffered a broken leg while on her cruise, and about 4:19pm this afternoon, the doctor aboard Freedom of the Seas called the Coast Guard to assist with a medical evacuation. The ship was 132 miles east of Great Inagua, Bahamas at the time. The Coast Guard dispatched a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter deployed to Great Inagua in support of Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos. OPBAT's normal mission is patrolling for narcotics smugglers.

The helicopter took the woman from the ship to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. There she was transferred to a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon jet crew which was also supporting OPBAT. They in turn flew the woman to South Florida where she was taken to a local hospital.

"While primarily focused on counter narcotics operations while deployed for OPBAT," said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Ippolito Hilton, "our people and our aircraft are ready to help whenever and wherever we are needed."

From the personnel department:

Linda Springmann has been named Vice President, Alaska Marketing & Sales by Holland America Line, which gives her the responsibility for the promotion of the line's Alaska Cruise and CruiseTour program.

Previously she was director of North America & Caribbean Marketing for the company. Springmann has held various positions at Holland America and Princess Cruises over the last 20 years. In addition she also brings experience as the marketing director of Gray Line Alaska. She also serves on the board of directors of the Seattle Aquarium.

From the personnel department:

Holland America Line has promoted Paul Allen from Vice President, Alaska Marketing & Sales to Vice President of Sales. Allen is now responsible for the company's annual sale strategies and directs the lines sales organization and programs.

He has been with Holland America for more than 20 years in various departments. He is also a CPA, just in case there's any tax trouble.

Update on Norwegian Crown

The repair to Norwegian Crown will take longer than anticipated, and departure for Bermuda is now delayed until Tuesday afternoon. Earlier item

This will again revise the cruise schedule. Norwegian Crown will now arrive Hamilton (Bermuda) Thursday morning at 9am and remain there until 4pm on Friday. It will return to New York on Sunday morning at 10am.

Passengers may board this afternoon and utilize the facilities of the ship until it sails Tuesday. NCL is giving passengers a 50% refund and a 20% (of the cruise fare they paid for this cruise) future cruise credit. Alternatively, they may also cancel and be refunded in full.

Update Aug 28, 5pm
NCL reports that Norwegian Crown sailed from New York this afternoon at 3pm and is expected to arrive in Hamilton at 8am Thursday morning. It will remain there until Friday afternoon at 5pm, and return to New York Sunday morning at 10am. The September 2 sailing will sail as planned at 4pm.

From the new uniform department:

Some cruisers like to schedule their cruises to sail with a particular cruise director. James Deering, however, is one of the few hotel managers who seems to have a following. It seems like wherever he goes he has fans who look forward to seeing him overseeing the hotel operation on their cruise. They probably enjoy the hotel aspects of their cruise more than the entertainment and know James is going to make sure everything runs well on their vacation.

His fans are now going to need to make a change of line if they want to cruise with him. We just heard from James (a long-time CND reader), and he tells us that he's now aboard Crown Princess learning the Princess ways. (Most recently, until last month, he was the hotel manager on Holland America's Oosterdam.) He says he will now probably most often be found aboard Crown Princess and Emerald Princess.

Back in July he promised to let us know where he would be appearing next, and like a great hotel manager, he delivered. We wish him all the best with his new line.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

From the going slow department:

While returning from Bermuda to New York, Norwegian Crown experienced a problem with its starboard propeller shaft which necessitated a reduced cruising speed. That is causing a delay in the ship's arrival in New York and a subsequent delay in the departure of the August 26 sailing.

NCL now expects Norwegian Crown to arrive in New York Monday morning (August 27) and be docked between 6am and 8am. Repairs will be made while the ship is in New York on Monday.

Norwegian Crown's August 26 sailing will depart a day late (on August 27) and operate a revised itinerary. Embarkation will begin at 1pm on Monday. A 4pm departure is planned, subject to repair work being completed. NCL says the ship will now arrive in Hamilton on Wednesday at 9am and remain there until Friday at noon. The return to New York will be as scheduled at 8am next Sunday.

NCL is refunding all passengers one seventh of the cruise fare paid in the form of an onboard credit. In addition they will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of one tenth of the cruise fare they paid for this cruise.