Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Search for Overboard Carnival Fantasy Passenger Suspended

The US Coast Guard has suspended their search for the 18-year-old man who went overboard from Carnival Fantasy in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday evening.

The Coast Guard says they suspended the search at 8:30pm Tuesday evening (May 26, 2009) after having searched nearly 5,300 square miles since they were called at 10pm Sunday evening.

Assisting in the search were:
* An HC-130 Hercules search plane from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
* An HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.
* An HU-25 Falcon search plane from Coast Guard Air Station Miami
* An HU-25 Falcon search plane from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Al.
* An HC-144 Ocean Sentry search plane from Aviation Training Center Mobile.
* The Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Carnival Fantasy also assisted in the initial search in the area where the passenger went overboard about 150 miles southwest of Tampa, but it was released by the Coast Guard early Monday morning.

Details of the incident are in the May 25 posting.

Fetten to Join Carnival Corp

Effective July 1, Peter Fetten will join Carnival Corp in the newly-created position of Senior Vice President of Corporate Ship Refits.

He will report to Chairman and CEO Micky Arison and Vice Chairman and COO Howard Frank.

Fetten previously served as Royal Caribbean's VP of newbuilding and fleet design for eight years. In that position he also oversaw renovation projects. He also held various positions over the 12-year period he was at Blohm + Voss. Fetten was also a past member of the board of directors of Grand Bahama Shipyard.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Century Casinos Opens Latest Cruise Ship Casino

Century Casinos opened their newest casino Saturday when TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff departed on its maiden voyage.

Mein Schiff's casino includes 31 slot machines and five gambling tables offering American roulette, blackjack and poker. The ship, the former Celebrity Galaxy, carries 1,924 passengers in double occupancy and is the first ship in the TUI fleet.

Century is under contract to operate casinos on all the ships TUI Cruises places into service by the end of 2012. The line plans to have three ships in service by that time. TUI Cruises is the partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruises and German travel company TUI AG.

Century also operates casinos aboard Silversea's Silver Cloud and all the vessels of Oceania Cruises.

Passenger Overboard from Carnival Fantasy

Updated 2:55pm EDT
The US Coast Guard says they received a call from Carnival Fantasy Sunday evening (May 24, 2009) about 10pm reporting a passenger had gone overboard at about 9:45pm.

Carnival advises that the man was witnessed going overboard, and they turned the ship and immediately began a search and rescue operation.

The Coast Guard dispatched an HC-130 Hercules search plane crew and an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Clearwater, and the cutter Nantucket, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported at St. Petersburg, was diverted to the area which is about 150 miles southwest of Tampa.

The missing passenger is reported to be an 18-year-old man from Louisiana. Local media in New Orleans is speculating that he was with a group of high school students that are aboard celebrating their graduation.

The Coast Guard released Carnival Fantasy from the search at 2:50am, and it proceeded to Key West which was about 165 miles away. Carnival Fantasy arrived there at approximately 1pm today (Monday).

Carnival Fantasy left New Orleans on Saturday (May 23) on a 7-day cruise. At the time the man went overboard, the ship was en route from New Orleans to Key West.

The Coast Guard search continued through the night and is continuing on Monday.

Update: May 26, 10:45pm
The Coast Guard suspended their search Monday evening. Details are in the May 26 item.

Gulfport Mounts Campaign for Cruise Ship

After seeing the money rolling into nearby New Orleans and Mobile from the cruise industry, Gulfport has decided they want a cruise ship homeported at Gulfport.

An article in the Gulfport Sun Hearld talks about the advantages and what the city is starting to do to position itself correctly. The city isn't without any experience because occasionally, ships have used the port when their regular homeport wasn't available. They have done the studies (some of which seem a little dated in their findings), and they understand what's going to make them more attractive to the cruise industry.

The one thing they don't seem to understand, however, is the tremendous competition for ships worldwide. Since the euro began to strengthen a few years ago, and cruise ships became more expensive to build, there has been a big slowdown in building and expansion of the fleets for American brands. Not only that, but at the same time, other lucrative source markets have begun to emerge around the world, so the folks in Gulfport aren't just competing just with Mobile or Charleston for a ship, but also Santos, Singapore and Perth.

If the Sun Herald article is correctly capturing the mindset of the city, unfortunately, they seem to believe that if they invest the money and do what their studies show, they will be successful and cruise lines will be anxious to homeport a ship there. Unfortunately, they can talk to a lot of ports around the country that can tell them that just isn't so. Ironically, the two nearby ports, New Orleans and Mobile, which are used in the article to demonstrate how good the cruise industry can be for a city, are also good examples of how their hopes can be frustrated too. Both cities have been pursuing the cruise lines for additional ships for a few years now without success.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Coast Guard Medevacs Woman from Norwegian Majesty

The US Coast Guard received a call from Norwegian Majesty today while the ship was still in Chesapeake Bay, requesting a 74-year-old woman be medevaced from the cruise ship due to an eye injury.

The call to the Coast Guard actually originated from the cell phone of the harbor pilot aboard Norwegian Majesty. The Coast Guard dispatched a 41-foot utility boat from Coast Guard Station Annapolis, Md and the woman was taken to a Baltimore hospital for treatment.

Norwegian Majesty departed from Baltimore today on a seven-day cruise to St. George's Bermuda.

Woman Airlifted from Carnival Fantasy during the Night

The US Coast Guard reports the received a call from Carnival Fantasy at 1:30am Sunday morning (May 24, 2009) reporting they had a 50-year-old woman aboard who was suffering from internal bleeding, and the doctor was requesting she be medevaced from the ship.

Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans dispatched an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter to the ship and successfully lifted the woman from the ship at approximately 2:30am and transported her to a hospital in Marrero, Louisiana.

Carnival Fantasy was approximately 30 miles south of the Southwest Pass at the time. Carnival Fantasy had just departed New Orleans Saturday evening on a 7-day cruise to Key West and Nassau. (This is one of the revised itineraries during the suspension of calls in Mexico that lengthened the cruise from five to seven nights.)

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