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Archive for April, 2013

Cruise lines tout environmental efforts to protect the ocean

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 22 - 2013

In celebration of Earth Day, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today highlighted the ongoing efforts of its member lines to protect the ocean environment. CLIA and its members lines have a vested interest in protecting the environment, not only because it is the responsible thing to do — but also because clean oceans and beaches are essential to the cruise experience. The international environmental standards that apply to the cruise line industry are stringent and comprehensive and are established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency, as well as national laws of port States where cruise ships visit. The cruise industry, however, employs practices and procedures that are substantially more protective of the environment than are required by regulation and CLIA member lines must meet and often exceed all applicable environmental regulations on a ship’s voyage.

CLIA members have been at the forefront of wastewater treatment, emissions reduction and the development of innovative technologies to further reduce the environmental impact of cruising.

“I am extremely proud of the extensive investments and ongoing commitment of our member lines to safeguard the environment for future generations through responsible practices and continuous innovation,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. “The cruise industry has invested extensively to develop and implement wide range of new technologies that protect air and water quality and increase energy efficiency.”

Energy efficiency is a major focus of the cruise industry, which has adopted practices such as using recycled hot water to heat passenger cabins, using special window tinting to keep passageways cooler while using less air conditioning, and switching to low energy LED lights which last 25 times longer, use 80% less energy, and generate 50% less heat. All of these efforts also reduce air emissions. CLIA members have invested significantly over the last decade to develop and implement new technologies that help to reduce air emissions, including utilizing exhaust gas scrubbers, developing engines that run more efficiently and increasing the use of shore power, which involves a ship connecting to shore-side power and shutting down its own engines while in port.
Working with the IMO, the United States and other flag and port States, CLIA has participated in the development of consistent and uniform international standards governing waste management that apply to all member ships that travel internationally. CLIA members have also adopted the Cruise Industry Waste Management Practices and Procedures, which are even more protective than the existing regulatory requirements.

Many CLIA member lines offer programs to raise passenger awareness and to encourage them to conserve energy and contribute to the industry’s environmental stewardship efforts by recycling paper, plastic, aluminum cans and glass through the use of dedicated bins throughout the ship. Passengers are also encouraged to preserve energy like they would do at home, such as turning off lights when not in their cabins.

Additional initiatives and practices in place at CLIA member lines include the following:

— Several lines are in various stages of utilizing advanced wastewater
treatment systems which can produce water cleaner than most wastewater
treatment facilities in U.S. cities.

— One member line has installed solar panels on five ships — and on one
ship over 200 solar panels have been installed, which generate enough
power to operate approximately 7,000 LED lights.

— A number of member lines use fabric bags — including laundry, dry
cleaning, and shoe shine bags — in lieu of plastic bags, thereby
reducing plastic from the waste stream.

— Many lines are using ecological, non-toxic, slick hull coatings that save
as much as 5% of fuel usage for propulsion.

— Condensation from shipboard air conditioning units is reclaimed and then
re-used to wash the decks on a CLIA member line’s ships, saving up to
22.3 million gallons of fresh water in 2012 alone.

— One CLIA member line saves paper by using an E-Tickets program which
delivers cruise documents to guests electronically instead of on paper.
The passengers cruise documents are delivered as a PDF file through

— Various ships are installing high-efficiency appliances onboard their
ships in order to minimize their impact on the environment. Every type of
appliance onboard the ships is evaluated for efficiency, including TV’s,
coffee makers, ovens and dishwashers.

— One CLIA member line is self-generating 87% of the water used on board
its ships, compared with 65% in 2008.

— One CLIA member line introduced a revolutionary system for fresh water
production that consumes 40% less power than traditional systems.

— Current shipboard recycling programs onboard one line’s ships eliminates
more than 900 tons of metal, glass, plastic and paper — approximately
45% of all solid waste generated — from traditional waste streams each

— Through its robust waste management programs, one line has increased its
waste recycled and reused by over 75% while reducing the amount of waste
going to landfill by over 50% in the past five years.

The cruise industry is highlighting how its member lines are safeguarding the oceans and the environment through the recently launched ‘Cruise Forward’ industry-wide communications initiative. Specific examples of how cruise lines across the globe are actively working to reduce the overall environmental impact of cruising and preserve and protect pristine oceans, beaches and ports can be found online at www.cruiseforward.org.

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

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Carnival Cruise Lines announced today that it has implemented a program to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introduce new fire safety technology, and improve the level of operating redundancies across its entire 24-ship fleet. This enhancement program will cost more than $300 million, and rapid upgrades have already begun. The actions by Carnival Cruise Lines will expand the availability of hotel services for the comfort of its guests in the rare instance of a shipboard event that involves the loss of main power. In addition, the plan will reinforce key shipboard operating systems to further prevent a potential loss of primary power. The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

An emergency diesel generator aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines vessel. The company will significantly enhance emergency power capabilities aboard its fleet. (Photo by: Carnival Cruise Lines)

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year.”

  • Increased Emergency Generator Power

The initial increase in emergency generator power across Carnival Cruise Lines’ fleet of 24 ships will be completed over the next several months. An additional emergency generator will be installed on each vessel to provide for 100 percent of stateroom and public toilets, fresh water and elevators in the unlikely event of a loss of main power. The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.
“Although every ship in our fleet currently has emergency back-up power which is designed to enable the continuous operation of safety equipment and some hotel services, it is our intent to significantly bolster that back-up power to support the core hotel services. With this improvement, we will better ensure guest comfort in the rare instance of a loss of main power,” said Cahill.

  • Increased Fire Prevention, Detection and Suppression Systems

Carnival will supplement its extensive fire prevention, detection and suppression systems across its fleet. Pictured: A high-pressure water mist fire protection system. (Photo by: Carnival Cruise Lines)

The company will also make additional investments in the newest and most technically advanced fire prevention, detection and suppression systems. This includes upgrading the existing water mist fire suppression systems already in place on Carnival vessels to the newest generation. When triggered, this high-pressure water mist system instantly creates a larger and thicker blanket of water droplets than the present system. As the water droplets evaporate, the system also rapidly cools any hot areas to prevent the possibility of a fire restarting.
“On Carnival Triumph, our fire systems were effective and our teams performed well in controlling and extinguishing the fire. However, we want to take advantage of the latest and most-advanced generation of fire safety systems to enhance the current extensive capabilities across our fleet,” added Cahill.

  • Enhanced Operating Redundancies

All of Carnival Cruise Lines ships have two separate, redundant engine rooms. The company’s operational review has identified modifications to further decrease the likelihood of losing propulsion or primary power, as happened on Carnival Triumph in February. The modifications will include a reconfiguration of certain engine-related electrical components. On ships where these enhancements will be made, the design and fabrication of specialized components will require longer lead times for completion, in contrast to the immediate upgrades to back-up emergency power and other systems.
Last month, Carnival Cruise Lines announced results from the first phase of the company’s operational review, specifically addressing Carnival Triumph and Carnival Sunshine, both of which are currently out of service. The plan for each of these ships addresses each of the three areas outlined above.

  • Company to Form New Safety & Reliability Review Board

Carnival Cruise Lines also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board comprised of outside experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance. The company already receives oversight and input from outside regulatory authorities and industry experts. The new Review Board will provide an additional, independent third-party perspective, drawing from deep experience across a number of relevant fields and organizations. The Review Board will be comprised of five external members. Active searches are underway for candidates with previous experience in organizations such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Transportation Safety Board, as well as leading airlines and equipment manufacturers. “The formation of our Safety & Reliability Review Board is an integral part of how Carnival Cruise Lines will drive continuous improvement across our fleet. We will be responsive to its recommendations,” said Cahill.

  • Carnival Corporation & plc Fleet Enhancements

Parent company Carnival Corporation & plc previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 of its brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation’s fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation’s 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships, is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million. “Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation & plc fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel. All findings from the operational review will be shared with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) as part of the industry-wide operational review announced in March.

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

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Quantum of the Seas what’s new, what’s missing

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 16 - 2013

A mechanical arm with pod that lifts guests 300 feet above the water, skydiving, bumper cars, a circus school, and inside staterooms with virtual video balconies. These are just some of the cruise ship firsts that will be onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel Quantum of the Seas. Launching in November 2014, the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas will be based from Bayonne, New Jersey and will offer cruises to the Caribbean.

This vessel is the line’s most ambitious ship to date. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein said the design concepts for the new Quantum vessel started right after the launch in 2009 of Oasis of the Seas. On Quantum, firsts at sea include RipCord by iFly and North Star. North Star features a glass pod at the end of a mechanical arm that extends from the top deck. The 14-passenger North Star will offer guests 360-degree views from 300 feet above the ocean. On the Sports Deck aft will be the two-story vertical wind tunnel which will be home to RipCord by iFly. The skydiving is a safe, controlled, and simulated environment that allows passengers to hover in the air just like a real skydiver. The line says both experiences are complimentary to all passengers.

With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety of stateroom categories, including new Studio staterooms, some with balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger Loft Suites. The 2,090 staterooms are slightly larger than the standard staterooms offered on the Oasis-class ships. Many interior staterooms will feature 80-inch video display monitors offering real-time views of the ocean and destinations allowing guests to feel like they have a real balcony albeit with no sea breeze. Additionally, the line is offering new staterooms for families with more interconnecting rooms.

Royal Caribbean is making areas more multipurpose in order to transition for different activities from day to evening. At the aft of the ship is Two70°, a venue with floor-to-ceiling windows that tower three decks high and provide a 270-degree panoramic view. During the day, the room will be a lounge with casual dining, and the upper level will house a library, and scheduled activities including workshops, lectures and demonstrations. At night, Two70° becomes a hip energetic space featuring a combination of aerial artists, along with laser digital projections. The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex is a flexible sporting and entertainment venue with exciting new features. It features a full-size basketball court and during select times a circus arts training center. At night, the floor can transform to accommodate bumper cars, roller skaters, and dance parties. Rooms surrounding the area feature table tennis, air hockey and foosball. Another multi-purpose area is the Music Hall a place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive access to live performances, DJs, theme night parties, billiards and more. Rebellious and edgy, Music Hall’s two-story design is inspired by the spirit of rock and roll.

The ship will offer a number of the line’s standard highly-touted amenities on Quantum: the rock climbing wall, FlowRider surfing, the H2O Zone, the Solarium, DreamWorks Experience, spa, outdoor movies, and children’s play area. However, there are a few things missing from the ship that have been on the line’s newest ships for the past decade. The ice skating rink and the Royal Promenade will not be on Quantum. Goldstein noted that with all the new additions there simply wasn’t room to accommodate the ice rink. The Royal Promenade which has been a staple on the majority of the line’s newest ships will be altered as well. There will be similarities, but there will be many new features for guests to enjoy. Additional details about dining, entertainment and other unexpected features and amenities on Quantum of the Seas will be unveiled in the coming months.

Its clear Quantum of the Seas is certainly a game changer in an industry that desperately needs some good news lately.

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

Royal Caribbean International today unveiled first details of the next generation of cruise vacations – Quantum cruising. The Quantum class of ships will take a dramatic leap forward, introducing more game-changing “firsts at sea” such as a skydiving experience, a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey; cutting-edge transformative venues including the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. These new, larger staterooms enable innovation in design, storage and comfort including the industry’s first virtual balconies. Every stateroom on Quantum of the Seas will have a view. The much anticipated details were unveiled by stage, television and film star, Kristin Chenoweth – Godmother of Quantum of the Seas – at an exclusive event for media and special guests in New York City this morning.

“This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design. Innovation has always been part of our DNA and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising,” stated Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “The unique features on Quantum will boggle our guests’ minds, but the real strength of the design is how our people have integrated all these diverse components to create a comfortable and exciting experience.”

Unprecedented “Firsts At Sea”

Having led the industry by introducing incredible signature offerings such as the Rock Climbing Wall, ice-skating rink, FlowRider surf simulator, Central Park and AquaTheater, Royal Caribbean will advance the onboard experience even further by delivering a groundbreaking lineup of “firsts at sea” on Quantum-class ships. New features exclusive to Royal Caribbean include:

RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to enjoy the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled, and simulated environment. North Star, an engineering marvel, takes guests to new heights – literally – with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver awe-inspiring 360-degree views. “We are excited to be introducing major advancements in ship design and offerings on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas,” said Adam Goldstein, president & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The innovative spirit of our brand is alive and well, and with Quantum class, we will deliver more unexpected activities in the most extraordinary spaces. Our guests should prepare to be wowed.”

New Transformational Signature Venues

With Quantum class, Royal Caribbean marries new innovations with significant architectural design elements to introduce spectacular spaces. On Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas guests will find endless possibilities with three new signature venues.

A revolutionary concept, Two70° is a multi-level great room that is sure to become one of the most iconic venues onboard Quantum class. The space is aptly named for its magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks at the stern of the ship. Two70° seamlessly fuses entertainment and technology to create a transformative journey from day to night. The perfect setting to connect with the sea during the day, Two70° provides a modern and comfortable living room space for guests to sit back and relax. As the sun sets and the lights go down, the dazzling space gradually reveals its evening persona, delighting guests with spectacular, mysterious and unexpected entertainment at night. Unparalleled technology means every show at Two70° is multidimensional and immerses the audience through a combination of live performers, including aerialists, as well as breathtaking video and digital scenery.

The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex is a distinctive and flexible sporting and entertainment venue with thrilling new features that will inspire guests of all ages to let loose and connect with their playful sides. Delivering more first at sea experiences, guests can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court. By night, the first-ever bumper car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement. Or, guests can dance to music orchestrated from a floating DJ booth which hovers above the activity below. A performance hall and the hottest live music venue on Quantum class, Music Hall is the place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive access to live performances, DJs, theme night parties, billiards and more. Rebellious and edgy, Music Hall’s two-story design is inspired by the spirit of rock and roll.

The Next Generation of Stateroom Accommodations

With guest comfort and convenience in mind, Royal Caribbean debuts the most spacious and luxurious accommodations ever, introducing rooms that on average are nine percent larger than those of Oasis class ships. Sophisticated, upscale design, layouts and finishes create a home away from home. Boasting Royal Caribbean’s new smart design concept, each stateroom features contemporary designs with easy-to-use customizable layouts and intuitive larger storage solutions.

Now every room on Quantum of the Seas has a view, with the exciting introduction of Virtual Balcony staterooms. This design concept brings virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering expansive real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations. For multi-generational families, Family-Connected staterooms deliver more flexibility, using three different stateroom categories which connect to form a special layout that provides separate bedrooms and bathrooms for all. These accommodations allow families and groups of friends traveling together to enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to together and alone time. With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety of stateroom categories,including new Studio staterooms, some with balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger Loft Suites.

Signature Features Return and More New Surprises To Come

The adults-only Solarium, along with an outdoor pool, a new indoor pool with operable roof and a H2O Zone kids’ aqua park, will be featured on the top deck. Signature Royal Caribbean venues and experiences popular with families such as the Rock Climbing Wall; FlowRider surf simulator; the award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar; will all be back on Quantum class. Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas also will make a quantum leap forward in its culinary offerings providing the most flexible dining options and more specialty restaurants than ever before. Additional details about dining, entertainment and other unexpected features and amenities on Quantum of the Seas will be unveiled in the coming months.

Quantum class will debut in fall 2014 with Quantum of the Seas, followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015. Quantum ships span 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. Bookings will be available to Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program members starting May 27, 2013 before opening to the general public on June 4. More information on Quantum of the Seas is available at www.RoyalCaribbean.com/Quantum.

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

The Duchess of Cambridge to name Princess’ newest ship Royal Princess

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On April - 9 - 2013

Princess Cruises announces that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will name Royal Princess, the newest addition to the line’s fleet. The ceremony at which The Duchess will name the ship will take place in Southampton on Thursday, June 13, and will be the highlight of week-long inaugural celebrations to welcome the vessel into service.

The spectacular ceremony will uphold British ship-naming traditions including the blessing, a performance by the Royal Marines Band and the pipers of the Irish Guards, together with contemporary highlights. Alan Buckelew, the line’s president and CEO said “It is a great honor for Princess Cruises that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the Godmother to Royal Princess. We are delighted that the Duchess will launch our new ship and can think of no better way to celebrate our company’s British heritage and our commitment to the country.”

Royal Princess will arrive at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton on Friday, June 7, where she will commence a series of events for customers and travel agents, including a special naming gala on the evening of Wednesday, June 12. The ship’s inaugural celebrations will conclude with her maiden voyage on June 16.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship. Among the special features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the new Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

The inaugural period of Royal Princess also includes two short preview cruises prior to and following the naming. After her maiden voyage the ship will sail Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the autumn. More information and video previews of the ship are available at www.princess.com/royalprincess.

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

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Windstar Cruises is offering the last Sail & Stay promotion of the year for 2013 European voyages with 2-for-1 cruise fares, plus two complimentary hotel nights. This exceptional offer which ends at midnight Saturday, April 27 features two nights in one of Windstar’s hand-picked luxury hotels in some of Europe’s most wonderful cities. The two complimentary hotel nights can be used before or after the voyage and are offered in the following cities: London, Rome, Dublin, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Stockholm, Istanbul, Cairo, Athens, Lisbon, and Barcelona. In addition, Windstar’s Facebook page will feature an exclusive offer for its fans.

With so many options, there is something for everyone. For example, guests wanting to extend their vacation in Stockholm, Sweden after sailing the eight-day voyage Best of the Baltics will stay at the Scandic Anglais Hotel in the heart of Stureplan, and step back in time in the Old Town. For those looking to further relax after they step of Casablanca & the Canary Islands, Hotel Botanico in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands may be the best choice. The hotel is situated close to a number of local beaches, and also includes: The Oriental Spa Garden, which offers a choice of relaxing Asian-influenced spa treatments. Whether on land or at sea, guests will always enjoy the Windstar style of pampering without pretense, extraordinary destinations, and casual elegance.

To learn more about the featured voyages and hotels in Windstar’s last 2013 European Sail & Stay promotion, contact a travel professional, visit the website or call Windstar Cruises at 800-258-7245.

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