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Archive for March, 2013

Norwegian Breakaway successfully completes sea trials

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 29 - 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that the line’s newest and most innovative ship to date, Norwegian Breakaway, successfully completed her technical and nautical sea trials which took place off the coast of Norway and Denmark. Over the course of several days beginning on March 25, Norwegian Breakaway underwent a series of stringent tests to assess various nautical and technical elements, including the ship’s speed, maneuverability, and more.

In order to assess the ship’s speed, the Captain, navigational officers and representatives from MEYER WERFT tested all of the various power outputs for the propellers. The speed was then adjusted to various levels at each power output level. Every speed test that Norwegian Breakaway underwent was successful and exceeded the required technical specifications. To demonstrate the agility of the ship, Norwegian Breakaway performed a “Williamson’s Turn,” to determine how well the ship would be able to turn around in the event of an on board emergency. The “Zig Zag” test was also conducted to demonstrate the ship’s ability to rapidly maneuver away from danger ahead, while still maintaining its forward course. Norwegian Breakaway passed both of these important tests successfully.

Norwegian Breakaway also executed a successful “Turning Circle” test that is conducted by powering the ship at full speed ahead and then quickly turning on the azipods, the ship’s propulsion units, to monitor the behavior of the vessel. When conducting the Turning Circle test, a certain minimum diameter is required in order to prove the ship’s seaworthiness and Norwegian Breakaway successfully executed all tests.

A “Crash Test” was also performed. This test is conducted by running the ship full steam ahead and then quickly reversing the azipods in order to assess the ship’s stoppage capabilities. The stoppage is monitored in terms of time and distance and Norwegian Breakaway exceeded all of the standards set. Finally, noise and vibration tests were performed to ensure that there is proper insulation between all staterooms, corridors and public areas. Wind levels on Norwegian Breakaway’s pool deck and The Waterfront, the ship’s outdoor dining and recreational area, were also assessed. Norwegian’s nautical team reported that the conditions for Norwegian Breakaway’s sea trials were extraordinary, and that the ship successfully completed all of the very important tests and trials that were conducted.

With the sea trials now complete, the on board operations team will continue the ship’s set up, getting Norwegian’s newest ship ready to receive guests for a series of inaugural events and transatlantic voyage. Following those events, the largest cruise ship to ever be constructed in Germany, will sail seven-day cruises from New York City to Bermuda through October 2013.

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

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Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 to sail 200th Transatlantic Crossing

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 27 - 2013

Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will mark a major milestone on her 6 July 2013 voyage from New York to Southampton, achieving her 200th Transatlantic Crossing in her ninth season since entering service in 2004. The milestone will be commemorated with various activities and special speakers and performers on board to add to the celebratory mood.

“Sailing a Transatlantic Crossing aboard our flagship Queen Mary 2 is a luxury travel experience like no other,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “And now with 200 Crossings under her belt, the grandest ocean liner in the world has proven to be the icon of the new golden age of ocean travel across the Atlantic.”

As part of the Cunard Insights on board enrichment program, Stephen Payne OBE, who was largely responsible for the overall design of Queen Mary 2, will present a fascinating perspective on her construction. Stephen also will be the guest of honor at an evening gala on board, which will include a commemorative dinner with a special menu. In addition, BBC newsreader and Classic FM presenter Nick Owen will lecture on board.

Also adding to the festivities will be 16 musicians, plus a band leader and vocalist, from the world-renowned Juilliard School of Dance, Drama and Music. The group will perform as a jazz orchestra providing a selection of Big Band, Swing and Glenn Miller style music and smaller ensemble pieces. Other Juilliard performances will include an evening event in the Royal Court Theatre with full orchestra and vocalist, an afternoon tea dance, lunch time jam sessions featuring an ensemble in the Chart Room, and a late evening ensemble in Illuminations. The band leader and members of the orchestra will also give two jazz master class lectures and a live Q&A.

Queen Mary 2 is still the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built. She is also the fastest passenger ship in the world.

In the course of the flagship’s 200 Transatlantic Crossings, Cunard estimates that passengers have consumed:
• 8.4 million cups of tea
• 980,000 scones
• 481,000 bottles of champagne
• 644,000 eggs
• 960,000 litres of milk

In total, Queen Mary 2 has served 22.4 million meals and sailed over 600,000 nautical miles during her first 200 Crossings. These figures do not take into account her annual World Cruise or her sailings to the Canaries, Fjords, Iceland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, around Britain, up to Montreal and Quebec in Canada, or among the Caribbean islands.

Looking at Cunard’s earlier vessels, Queen Mary (1936 – 1967) crossed the Atlantic 1,001 times; Queen Elizabeth (1940 – 1968) crossed 896 times; and Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969 – 2008) crossed 812 times.

Transatlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2 offer time to leisurely explore the ship’s extensive on board amenities and activities, including lectures through the award-winning Cunard Insights programme; stargazing in the only planetarium at sea; white-gloved afternoon tea served in the Queens Room or a spin around the dance floor during a Royal Nights themed ball; taking in a performance or workshop by members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; or perusing 8,000 volumes in the largest library at sea.

Special promotional fares for the 200th Transatlantic Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 on the 6 July 2013 voyage start from $1,399 per person.

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

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Princess celebrates float out of Regal Princess

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 26 - 2013

Regal Princess reached a significant construction milestone today when the Princess Cruises vessel was “floated out” at its building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. A traditional ceremony marked the occasion as the ship met the ocean for the first time.

Following the Italian shipyard’s custom, the float out of a ship begins when a “madrina,” or godmother, cuts the cord that begins the flow of water into the ship’s building dock. Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of the popular online community Cruise Critic, served in this role to begin the two-day process of setting the ship afloat. “To mark this important milestone we selected a woman who lives and breathes the cruise industry,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. “Carolyn has been the editor-in-chief for Cruise Critic for 10 years and not only is she a champion of cruising, she’s helped to build an avid community of cruisers. Her passion for cruising made her the perfect choice to serve as madrina for our new Regal Princess.”

Once afloat, the ship will be moved to the outfitting dock where final construction and interior outfitting will take place. Regal Princess, a sister ship to the soon-to-debut Royal Princess, will debut in June 2014 with a season of Mediterranean cruises. Regal Princess and Royal Princess are new-generation ships for Princess Cruises. Among the special features found on board the 3,600-passenger vessels will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

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

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Not again! Carnival Dream cruise plagued by engine troubles, cruises canceled

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 14 - 2013

Another problem for Carnival Cruise Lines as one of its ships has developed another engine problem mid-cruise. The Port Canaveral based Carnival Dream, one of the line’s newer and largest ships, was on the return leg of a seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailing is now docked in St. Maarten. Passengers have reported to various media outlets that toilets were overflowing and elevators were shut down and the overall atmosphere on board was very bad as little information was being relayed by the crew. A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson stated Thursday that Carnival Dream’s captain notified the agency of possible trouble with the ship’s propulsion system. The ship’s emergency generator, which powers propulsion for ship, has reportedly failed. The Coast Guard said they have been reassured by the ship’s captain that their main generator and sewage systems are unaffected by the failure.

Carnival issued a statement stating, “The Carnival Dream has a technical issue which our engineering team is currently working on. The ship is at dock in St. Maarten. At no time did the ship lose power but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night. The statement added “The ship has full power but is still at dock while personnel continue to work on the technical issue.” Carnival said they are making arrangements for all passengers to be returned home. “While personnel continue to work on the technical issue we are making arrangements to fly all guests home via private charter flights and scheduled flights from St. Maarten. Guests on the current voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise,” according to a statement. “We are also cancelling the ship’s next voyage which is scheduled to depart on Saturday, March 16. Guests scheduled to sail on this cruise will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise.”

The Carnival Dream is the latest in a serious of unfortunate events for Carnival. Last month an engine fire crippled the Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 4,200 people were left without working toilets or power for several days as the ship was towed to Mobile, Alabama. In 2010, a similar incident happened to Carnival Splendor off the Mexican Riviera carrying 3,299 passengers.

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

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Dancing with the Stars: At Sea rocks the Eurodam

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 11 - 2013

It’s a moonlit night in San Juan and there’s lots of shimmying, shouting, and whooping it up on the Lido Deck of Holland America Line’s Eurodam. This isn’t your average port-of-call local folk dancing display, but glitz and glamour on the high seas as Holland America kicks off the first ever “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruise. Professional dancers from the hit show Mark Ballas and Lacey Schwimmer along with past celebrity contestants Sabrina Bryan and Joey Fatone are onboard to entertain, share dance tips, and tell fans what it’s really like to be on the show.

Theme partners

Each year, most of the major cruise lines unveil specially themed cruises that appeal to different groups of people. Trends indicate that theme cruises are one of the fastest growing sectors within the cruise industry and it’s becoming easier and more affordable to find a theme cruise that revolves around something you love to do.

It goes without saying there are all kinds of television show fanatics, but no group is more spirited than those that watch “Dancing with the Stars”. Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions the “Dancing with the Stars” format launched as “Strictly Come Dancing” in the UK in 2004. Since then the show has become the world’s most popular reality television program that is replicated in 40 countries across six continents, it has even spawned a seasonal show in Las Vegas. So, naturally it would make sense to take the franchise to the high seas.

“‘Dancing with the Stars’ is an international phenomenon and we know this exciting new addition to our entertainment line-up will be very popular with our global guests,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. It also doesn’t hurt that the average Holland America Line customer is the ideal demographic for the show – middle-aged women. Out of the 2148 passengers onboard the Eurodam sailing, over 50 percent were in that demographic.

There are six theme cruises scheduled in 2013 and early 2014 on Holland America Line that will feature exclusive “Dancing with the Stars” events including dance lessons; a chance to meet the dancers, ask questions and take photos; and a dazzling production starring celebrities and the famed dance pros, complete with glamorous costumes and routines from the TV show. For dance lovers the cruises offer a unique opportunity to have access and interact with dance pros and stars from the show and perhaps learn some new dances and moves.

But this is not all that Holland America has planned, they also will be featuring an exclusive “Dancing with the Stars” program on every sailing of their 15 ships where passengers can learn to dance the Tango, Quickstep or Paso Doble. In addition, winners of each sailing’s dance-off will get to dance ‘center stage’ in one of the exciting dance performances and will be entered in a drawing for a free cruise at the end of the year.

‘dam Dancing

Witnessing the inaugural cruise it was clearly a tremendous success with the passengers. Guests truly enjoyed the numerous dance lessons offered during the sailing and it proved to be extremely popular so much so that more rooms needed to be added. “Over 400 people showed up for the first lesson,” cruise director Jason Venner told me. He noted that the Queen’s Lounge was too small so they had to open up the Northern Lights disco and add more instructors. Every dance lesson thereafter required both rooms due to the large turnout.

Most passengers were star-struck by all the precise booty shaking in front of them, but many on the sailing are recreational dancers who booked the cruise to learn how to spice up their own dance moves. I spoke with one such passenger Linda Velone of Boston, who along with her husband booked the cruise to learn from the pros. The Velones are among the growing number of couples taking up ballroom dancing for fun and health benefits. Back in Boston they take weekly classes and are always looking for new ways to hone their dance skills. Linda was upset to learn that pros Ballas and Schwimmer would not be teaching the classes, but the ships’ professional dancers would be doing them. The Eurodam crew acknowledged there were some mistaken assumptions amongst some passengers regarding the teaching of the classes. Still, while the ship’s professional dancers taught the classes the “Dancing with the Stars” cast would show up for appearances during classes and at times would judge some of the dancing contests.

Indeed for Ballas, Schwimmer, Bryan, and Fatone the cruise proved to be a terrific experience albeit a nerve-racking one preparing for the stage show. It’s one thing dancing on land; however, it’s a completely different reality dancing on a moving cruise ship. Fatone told me it was stressful with the rehearsals leading up to the show, but afterwards they were able to truly able relax. Indeed the celebrities were completely in their element amongst the passengers and fans of the show always happy to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Even on Holland America’s private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay, the cast was posing in their bathing suits with guests.

As for the Velones they had such a good time they’ve already booked another dancing cruise with another couple they met onboard. “It was the best cruise we’ve had in years,” she tells me. It’s clear theme cruises are a great entertainment and they offer and enriched atmosphere for guests with similar interests. Best of all, the shared exuberance makes for a great vacation and perhaps some lifelong friendships. Add to that the pleasures of cruise travel and visiting interesting destinations and it’s a hit.

If you go:  There are six theme cruises in 2013 and early 2014 will feature “Dancing with the Stars” events. Currently scheduled to appear on select sailings are two-time champion pro dancers Mark Ballas and Kym Johnson ; pros Tristan MacManus and Lacey Schwimmer; and some of your favorite celebrity competitors.* More dance pros and celebrities to be announced. Visit Holland America Line’s website for the latest itinerary information and pricing.

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

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