Friday, November 2, 2007

From the oops department:

Remember the dramatic pictures of Sea Diamond sinking at Santorini last spring? Louis Line now says it was an error on the map the crew was using that caused the ship to strike a reef and open a hole in its hull. A Reuters article goes into detail. Naturally, there are arguments on both sides of this explanation.

From the legislative workaround department:

Hawaii's Superferry may finally be just about ready to begin regular operations. Just as the first vessel was to enter service last month, the line ran up against a legal obstacle, that if not dealt with, would have forced the line to move elsewhere in order to try to avoid bankruptcy.

Superferry had a well-laid out plan, years in the making (with millions of dollars invested), and they thought they had complied with all the rules to enter service in Hawaii. Many people in Hawaii want the service, which would be the first regularly-scheduled ferry service between the islands. There are also many who oppose it on environmental grounds and just general principles. Just days before the service was to start, the latter faction succeeded in getting an injunction to stop the service until a complete environmental study could be completed, which could take months or years. During the first scheduled trial runs, there were also those who physically blocked the ferry from the harbor at Kauai.

Both houses of Hawaii's legislature have now passed legislation which will allow the Superferry to operate while the environmental study is being completed, and allows the governor (who is a supporter of the service) to impose rules on the line by executive order to safeguard the environment during the time the study is ongoing. She is expected to sign the legislation next week.

It again appears the Superferry is about to enter service, but they (and the Coast Guard) will still have to deal with the people who want to physically block the vessel.

Friday's article in the Honolulu Advertiser explains the legislative workaround. More information on the service itself is available on the Superferry website.

Update Nov 03: There is also an interesting article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin which gives some additional perspective.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

From the bet you haven't seen one of these before department (Part 2):

This what happens to the "it girls" on Halloween in the pressure-cooker world of cruise line PR.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

From the bet you haven't seen one of these before department:

Thanks to a partnership between Italian car maker Fiat and Costa Crociere, 500 limited edition Costa Fiat 500's will be produced. They will be used in an incentive contest for Italian travel agents and roll all over Italy for two years.

From the in the Caribbean now department:

Emerald Princess entered service in the Mediterranean last spring, but just arrived at its winter home (Ft. Lauderdale) last weekend. This winter it will be sailing a pattern of 10-night cruises round trip from Port Everglades, and yesterday Emerald Princess made its maiden call at St. Thomas. The event was covered by Caribbean Net News. St. Thomas is one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean, but even so, the arrival of a new ship still make big local news.

Monday, October 29, 2007

From the so near yet so far department:

Passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas sat aboard the ship off the coast of Lahaina today for four hours waiting for the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources to get in place to allow the ship's tenders to land passengers on Maui, according to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser.

The ship arrived at 7am, but the first tenders were not allowed to depart for shore until after 11:15am. The state blames it on a staffing shortage of experienced employees to screen arriving passengers.

Unfortunately, the delay scuttled the excursion plans for many of the passengers, costing the local economy mega bucks.

Radiance of the Seas left Los Angeles October 21 on a 14-day itinerary. This is the second disappointment for the passengers. The Hilo call had to be canceled due to sea conditions, so the ship had returned to Oahu for a second call in Honolulu replace Hilo.

updated Oct 30 2007 1:18pm

From the now you see it again department:

Earlier this month we told you about Liverpool's new pier which disappeared. Actually it wasn't a surprise; it was part of a process to get the construction certified. The new terminal was built, used for several cruise ship calls (including QE2), and then dismantled, and parts were towed to the Cammell Laird shipyard for inspection.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the pieces returned last weekend and Liverpool's new cruise terminal is finally (and permanently) ready for business.