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Archive for March, 2012

Costa Concordia shipwreck being viewed by airline passengers

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 29 - 2012

When the Costa Concordia capsized off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13 it forever changed the cruise industry. Not only has it changed the cruise industry, but it has changed the coastal views of the island from sea level and the skies above. Recent photos taken from a U.S.-bound airliner at 15,000 feet illustrate how the massive shipwreck is hard to ignore from the air. Salvage crews are estimating it could take up to a year to remove Concordia from Giglio.

Reported by Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

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Princess celebrates record-breaking bookings for new Royal Princess

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 21 - 2012

Princess Cruises had the biggest booking day in its history for a new ship’s inaugural season with the anticipated debut of Royal Princess. Opening the books on its 2013 Mediterranean season on March 15, sales for the new Royal Princess reached an all-time record for the most bookings of any ship’s maiden season voyages.

“We’re thrilled to see such enthusiasm for our new Royal Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. “The volume of bookings we received on Thursday is a testament to the huge support of the travel agent community, our loyal past passengers, and those first-time Princess cruisers excited to experience Royal Princess.”

The ship’s 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Venice begin on June 23, 2013. Preceding these cruises, Royal Princess sails on her inaugural voyage, a seven-day Iberia cruise from Southampton to Barcelona departing June 16.

“Offering our newest ship on our most popular Europe itinerary, the Grand Mediterranean, has clearly proved popular with consumers and we’d like to thank everyone who has booked a cruise on the new Royal Princess,” added Swartz. “The combination of an extraordinary onboard experience with these iconic European ports is sure to give passengers the cruise of a lifetime.”

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises. Among the new features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; the dramatic 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; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; 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. Eighty percent of the ship’s staterooms will feature a balcony. More information about the ship is available at www.princess.com/royalprincess.

Reported by Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under Blog, News, Twitter, What's New?

Silversea’s Silver Shadow collides with cargo ship in Vietnam

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 19 - 2012

Silversea's Silver Shadow (image courtesy of Silversea Cruises)Silversea Cruises said the Silver Shadow “was involved in a minor incident on March 16, 2012, at around 4:20 GMT as it was approaching the pilot station in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. There was contact between Silver Shadow and a local commercial vessel. Silver Shadow incurred limited minor dents and guests’ safety was never compromised. The ship was fully operational and continued on its course to Ha Long Bay, where all shore tours operated normally.”

CNN has an iReport from Silver Shadow passenger Andrew Lock who noted the collision left a hole in the container ship. He added that passengers headed to their muster stations, but the captain soon announced that the ship was not in danger.

Silversea said it will carry out a full investigation into the incident.

Stay tuned for more information…

Reported by Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

It’s not easy being an older cruise ship these days. In the ever present world of new ship launches with names like Allure, Silhouette, Favolosa, Reflection, an old ship, well, doesn’t come across as that appealing. In 1996, Carnival Destiny began life as the world’s largest passenger ship and thus began the launch of all the mega ships to follow. Now at 16-years of age Destiny is deemed middle-aged, but she’s not quite past her prime as Carnival is about to invest $155 million in a new European shipyard makeover and give her a ‘perky’ new moniker.

Meet the Carnival Sunshine, not to be confused with Royal Caribbean’s new class of ships, “Project Sunshine”. Carnival Sunshine will get the full Carnival Funship 2.0 treatment and a lot more. The redesign calls for a reconfigured layout, the expansion of two decks and the addition of 182 cabins, among other things, during a 49-day dry dock to take place from February through April 2013. “This is our most ambitious ship conversion project to date and it will radically transform the Carnival Destiny into essentially an entirely new ship offering a variety of exciting dining and beverage choices, spectacular outdoor spaces and entertainment options and on-board innovations not available anywhere else,” Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in statement.


So what’s new:
• Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse offering mouth-watering steaks and gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts, all enhanced by understated ambiance and impeccable service (venue will carry a surcharge consistent with other steakhouses in the Carnival fleet)
• A stunning new full-service Asian restaurant inspired by the line’s popular Mongolian wok casual eateries that will feature an extensive menu of delicious favorites from the Far East, along with a striking Asian-themed décor (no charge for lunch with a nominal fee for dinner)
• A new casual dining option, “The Comfort Kitchen,” located within the Lido Marketplace and offering a tempting array of American-style “comfort food” entrees and side dishes
• The new Sunshine Bar, an elegant lounge with sun-splashed interiors located at the lobby level of the ship’s towering atrium where guests can enjoy a cocktail, dance and listen to live music
• An exciting new lounge, Havana Bar, a tropical-inspired nightspot located aft within Lido Marketplace featuring a panoramic ocean view from its floor to ceiling windows and offering a unique and memorable venue for cocktails, live Latin music and dancing
• Carnival’s first three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat, an oasis of tranquility offering plush chaise lounges and chairs, a whirlpool, a cascading waterfall, teak-planked decks, a pool, a complimentary dining area with freshly made salads that can be customized by guests, and, of course, magnificent sea views

Of course Sunshine will offer all the other popular Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades including: Guy’s Burger Joint, RedFrog Pub, WaterWorks, SportsSquare, Cloud 9 Spa, Punchliner Comedy Club, to name a few. Additionally, the staterooms are to be revamped with a new tropical décor in keeping with Caribbean itineraries, and 96 of the new staterooms will be spa cabins.

Following the redesign the Sunshine will sail the Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona and Venice through October 2013 before landing in New Orleans for the launch of a year-round seven-day Caribbean sailing schedule in November 2013. The Carnival Sunshine will operate three different week-long itineraries from New Orleans: a Bahamas/Florida route to Key West, and Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas and two Caribbean routes, one to Belize City, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan and Cozumel, Mexico and another to Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

By Anita Dunham-Potter (editor@www.expertcruiser.com)

© www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under Blog, gallery, News, Twitter, What's New?

Disney Fantasy is christened in NYC by godmother Mariah Carey

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 2 - 2012

The stars came out in full force Thursday for the new Disney Fantasy in New York City. The christening entertainment started off in the ship’s 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre and featured A-list stars: Actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the song-and-dance extravaganza highlighting performances from the ship’s regular production numbers, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a very funny special-guest appearance. Other celebrities on hand were Alan Cummings, Tim Gunn, and Ty Pennington. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg even joined in on the festivities. Also in the audience were company officials, including Disney President and CEO Robert Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas Staggs.


And for the main event, singer Mariah Carey was announced as godmother of the Fantasy whereby she made the traditional maritime blessing of the ship as it was christened by Minnie Mouse. The Disney Fantasy begins a schedule of 7-day Caribbean cruises on March 31 from its homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida.

Filled Under Blog, gallery, News, What's New?