Friday, February 17, 2012

Who could show you how to do pasta better than a chef aboard MSC Splendida?

Pregnant Woman Wasn't Even on Costa Concordia

Last week, it was reported by media worldwide that the death toll in the Costa Concordia accident increased by one, when an Italian woman and her husband filed suit against Costa Crociere in relation to a miscarriage the woman suffered two weeks after evacuating the ship.

Costa Crociere today confirmed that neither the woman nor her husband were on Costa Concordia on January 13.

The couple and their attorney have appeared on several television shows in Italy, and one show, “Striscia la Notizia," investigated their claims and found that not only weren't they aboard the ship, they were also using false identities.

The woman claimed to be five months pregnant at the time of the accident and claimed she miscarried two weeks after the accident due to the psychological stress of the evacuation and her lifeboat subsequently smashing against rocks as it headed to shore. They filed suit against Costa for 1 million euros.

This is the second case of someone who wasn't on the ship trying to sue the line.

Costa said today they were filing legal action against the couple and would take similar action against anyone else trying to perpetrate similar scams or profiteer in the wake of the Costa Concordia incident.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blend Craft Wine Program aboard MSC Cruises

Many cruise lines have wine appreciation programs, but on selected sailings in the Caribbean, MSC Cruises goes them one better. In several programs in partnership with Blend Craft, MSC Poesia passengers can learn about wine, enjoy wine, and even learn to blend it and bottle it, complete with a bottle to take home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Video: Princess Provides First Royal Princess Interior Details

In this video, Princess Cruises' President and CEO, Alan Buckelew, and Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations, Rai Caluori, take you on a virtual tour of the new Royal Princess Atrium. Coming in June of 2013, the new Royal Princess features an evolutionary design that builds on all the features that passengers have grown to enjoy onboard the current Princess Cruises fleet.

Atrium Features

Royal Princess’ expanded atrium is designed to enhance the lively street-café atmosphere passengers have become accustomed to on current Princess ships. With more open space for viewing live entertainment in the Piazza from decks 6 and 7, as well as new venues that appear to float mid-air, this new atrium represents a prototype design that builds on the line’s classic style. Atrium features include:

Deck 5:

International Café
As on most Princess ships, the International Café will be serving fresh-baked pastries, panini sandwiches, salads, fresh-baked cookies specialty coffees, and sweet desserts, but aboard Royal Princess this favorite venue will have an expanded seating area and an eye-catching new lighting feature, making it the perfect area to grab a light meal, meet friends for coffee or enjoy a snack while watching the array of Piazza entertainers.

Celebrations Gift Shop
A new shopping stop, Celebrations will offer gifts especially for passengers celebrating a special occasion, or those looking for a well-deserved indulgence. Passengers will find premium chocolates, colorful flower arrangements, and other gift items perfect for someone enjoying a special day.

For a delicious desert or afternoon delight, Royal Princess’ gelateria will serve up a variety of tempting treats such as designer sundaes, sweet crespelle (Italian crepes), creamy fruit smoothies, frosty shakes, and delightful homemade waffle ice cream cones.

A Princess passenger favorite, Vines wine bar will be pouring as many as 30 different wines by the glass, plus serving up an selection of tapas or sushi to accompany the many vintages. Passengers can also find favorite bottles for purchase or a gift for their favorite wine lover at Vines shop.

Bar Piazza and Tea Tower
This classic cocktail bar complements the Piazza vibe by offering an endless array of “anything you can think of” libations, complemented by a twin tea tower of artisan-crafted varieties and infusions for custom creations with over 300 possibilities.

Mini-Piazza with Water Feature
Just adjacent to the Piazza, a sparkling water feature will set off an extension area featuring the Passenger Services Desk and Shore Excursion Desk. This dazzling Mini-Piazza will provide a special atmosphere for passengers making a visit to ask questions of Princess’ gracious crew members.

Also located in the Mini-Piazza will be Princess’ signature Tuscan-inspired specialty restaurant, Sabatini’s. Known for its celebrated pastas, seafood and Italian specialties, Sabatini’s will feature a fresh menu of sophisticated Italian favorites with an a la carte experience. With a refined yet casual Italian ambiance, Sabatini’s offers attentive personal service and the feeling of having just stepped into a ristorante in the heart of Tuscany.

Deck 6:

This brand new Italian-inspired cocktail venue is a perfect place to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the atrium’s activities, while indulging in a Bellini-inspired drink. Passengers will also enjoy views of the Piazza below in this “floating” space.

After quickly becoming a passenger favorite since its debut aboard Grand Princess, Alfredo’s Pizzeria has kept up Princess’ reputation for serving the best pizza at sea. Aboard Royal Princess the sit-down restaurant will feature an expanded menu and more spacious seating, perfect for enjoying the fresh toppings and crisp crusts of a personal pizza right from the eatery’s stone oven.

Photo and Video Gallery
Now conveniently located in the atrium, the Photo and Video Gallery will offer new high-tech digital photo stations to help passengers easily find their images.

Deck 7:

Ocean Terrace
The new Ocean Terrace seafood bar will offer pearls of the ocean, fresh from the sea. Seafood lovers can indulge in an array of treats, including sushi, sashimi, ceviche and caviar in a space that seems to be floating over the atrium levels below.

An expanded Crooners Bar will not only offer the venue’s famous menu of 75 different martinis and classic 1960s-style “Rat Pack” atmosphere, but also a new entertainment option with dueling glass pianos for a lively show to go with the breathtaking views.

Additional information about other ship features will be released in the coming months.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is the first of two new-generation ships for Princess which are being built by Fincantieri at their Monfalcone, Italy shipyard. Some additional new features found aboard will be an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship’s starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel, and the similarly-unique cantilevered SeaView bar, featuring cocktails with unbeatable vistas. Also on her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water, two additional pools, a dazzling water and light show, an expanded version of Princess’ signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, and the popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video: Costa Concordia Fuel Removal Begins

Weather yesterday (February 11, 2012) has finally permitted Smit Salvage to begin the removal of the fuel from Costa Concordia.

In preparation for this, in late January, Smit divers began to tap the ship's 17 fuel tanks to install heated sealable flanges through a complex process explained in the first video below:

The second video shows the Smit divers actually installing the sealable flanges:

Video courtesy of Smit Salvage