Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hurricane Norbert Updates

Updated October 11, 9pm EDT

Hurricane Norbert has moved out of the ocean and is no longer affecting cruise ships. The itinerary changes that have occurred are shown below.

The following itineraries have been affected. (Ships are listed in alphabetical order.)

Carnival Elation - departed San Diego Thursday (October 9) - The Cabo San Lucas call on Saturday will be canceled. The revised itinerary calls at Catalina on Saturday (October 11 - 8am-5pm) and Ensenada on Sunday (October 12 - 8am-5pm). Carnival Elation will return to San Diego on Monday (October 13) as scheduled.

Carnival Pride - departed Long Beach Sunday, October 5 - The Mazatlan call on Thursday (October 9) will be canceled and replaced with Cabo San Lucas on Thursday (October 9 - noon-6pm) as the ship hurries to pass in front of Norbert's path. A call will then be added at Ensenada on Saturday (October 11 - 8am-5pm). Carnival Pride will return to Long Beach as scheduled on Sunday (October 12).

NCL's Norwegian Sun - departed San Francisco Thursday (October 2) - The ship will cancel its call at Cabo San Lucas on Friday (October 10) and remain at sea. Norwegian Sun will return to San Francisco as scheduled on Monday (October 13).

Holland America's Ryndam - departed San Diego Sunday (October 5) - The ship is on a charter and not operating its regular itinerary. A call at La Paz on Friday (October 10) has been canceled, and the ship will remain at sea, creating three sea days in a row.

Sapphire Princess - departed Los Angeles Saturday (October 4) - The only change was a cancellation of a call at Cabo San Lucas Thursday (October 9) as the ship wants to cross the storm's projected path ahead of it instead of having to wait for the storm to pass. The ship is therefore spending the day at sea. Sapphire is expected to return to Los Angeles on Saturday as scheduled.

For other cruise weather-related information , please see our cruise weather information page on our main website at

This item will no longer be updated.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Carnival Brands to Set Elimination of Fuel Supplement

This afternoon Carnival Corp made two announcements regarding their US brands' fuel supplements.

The first deals with 2010 sailings. Effective on October 31, they will eliminate the supplement while simultaneously increasing prices, effectively rolling the price of fuel into the fare.

In the second part of the announcement, they set guidelines for removing it from 2008 and 2009 sailings. For that to happen, the company said, the price of oil would have to be $70 per barrel or less at the 2:30pm close of business (as reported by Reuters) for 25 consecutive trading days. At that point the brands would removed the surcharge on sailings at least five trading days in the future.

Details to follow.

QE2 Embarks on Final Transatlantic Trip

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 left Southampton this afternoon on its final westbound transatlantic voyage. It is scheduled to arrive in New York on Thursday (October 16, 2008). That will be its final visit to the Big Apple.

As we reported earlier in Cruise News Daily, the day will be marked by many toasts and events, but the grandest will be when QE2 leaves New York at 5pm for the final time for her final voyage across the Atlantic.

The round trip from Southampton to New York and back will be in tandem with the larger Queen Mary 2.

If you'd like to witness the tandem departure from New York, accompanied by FDNY fireboats, Cunard suggests the following vantage points: Battery Park (on the southern shoreline of Manhattan), Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park (overlooking the Hudson River with great views of the Statue of Liberty), the Esplanade (running the entire length of Battery Park City, along the Hudson River from Stuyvesant High School on the north end all the way south to Battery Park, and Hudson River Park (extends for five miles along the Manhattan shoreline from Battery Place to West 59th Street).

QE2, the longest-serving vessel Cunard has ever had, will be retired in Dubai on November 27, 2008.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grand Turk Reopens

Carnival Destiny became the first cruise ship to visit Carnival Corp's Grand Turk Cruise Center today (October 8, 2008) after much of the island was damaged by Hurricane Ike on September 6 & 7 (2008).

The cruise center has been fully repaired, but much of the rest of the island is still rebuilding.

The island has recovered beyond just meeting basic human needs and has now moved into a phase where it is working toward economic recovery. Carnival Destiny's arrival plays a big role in that since the cruise center and companies linked directly to it are the largest private employer on the island.

Other ships previously scheduled to call at the island will now begin calling as scheduled. The first will be Crown Princess on October 10.

Details are in the October 8 edition of Cruise News Daily.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Carnival's Cozumel Pier to Reopen

Carnival Corp confirmed today that their Puerta Maya pier and cruise center on the island of Cozumel will reopen on October 16, 2008.

Along with the new two-berth pier, the adjacent nine-acre cruise center with a variety of shops and restaurants, will open. The new facilities also include a four-acre transportation hub for taxis, excursion buses and rental cars, and a new excursion pier for water-based excursions so they can leave directly from the facility.

In addition to calling at Puerta Maya, vessels from all Carnival brands will continue to also use the other two piers at Cozumel. Puerta Maya is located on the southwest part of Cozumel about five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city.

Puerta Maya has been closed since it was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma, which caused massive destruction on the island in 2005.

Details appeared in the October 7, 2008 edition of Cruise News Daily.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The End of Sea Esacpe

When the long-time gambling ship Sea Escape shut down August 10, they said they would shortly announce another port where they would set up operations. The company said they couldn't compete with all the gambling opportunites in South Florida.

They never got the chance to see if they could make the gambling ship work somewhere else. As they were preparing to move to ship, officially Island Adventure, to the Bahamas while they worked out their plan, it was arrested by US marshals in response to a lawsuit filed by crew members who hadn't been paid.

The judge gave the owners until September 26, 2008 to raise the money for the crew members, and other creditors which later piled on. (In total $2.3 million was said to be owed.) In addition to raising the money in the usual ways, the judge also allowed the owners to contract to sell or charter Island Adventure.

They couldn't find anyone interested, and today the judge ordered the ship sold at auction on October 16. And that seems to be the end of Sea Escape - a South Florida tradition.

Island to Stand Alone

Royal Caribbean will sell their interest in Island Cruises to their partner in the venture, First Choice Holidays.

One of the two ships, Island Star, which Island charters from RCCL will be returned to RCCL in April 2009 and redeployed to RCCL's Pullmantur brand.

From later statements by TUI, First Choice's parent, the Island Cruises brand apparently will next year be folded into Thomson Cruises, another of TUI's holdings.

The complete story appeared in the October 6 (2008) edition of Cruise News Daily.

Disney Cruise Line Returning to Europe

Disney Cruise Line will send Disney Magic to Europe from April thru September 2010.

The program will include 10- and 11-night itineraries in the Mediterranean, similar to what the line operated previously in 2007. This time, however, Disney Magic will also offer 12-night cruises in the Baltic.

Additionally, Disney Wonder will shift to 4- and 5-night cruises out of Port Canaveral during the summer of 2010.

The complete story was carried in today's edition of Cruise News Daily.

From the New and Improved Department

Carnival Cruise Lines has formed a new department that will focus on developing new onboard experiences and improving on the existing programming.

17-year Carnival veteran Chris Arnholt will head up the new initiative. She will have the new title VP of guest experience and business development.