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New Cruise Finder Launches on TravelandLeisure.com

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This week, TravelandLeisure.com debuts the T+L Cruise Finder.

With more than 70 percent of the world covered in water, it’s no surprise the cruise industry is the world's fastest-growing travel sector. But with so many waterways to explore, it's often difficult deciding which cruise—and cruise ship—is the right fit.

From first-timers to seasoned wayfarers, cruisers can now compare ships side by side. Powered by Find The Best, the T+L Cruise Finder makes it easy to search by ports of call, ship size, price point—you name it—and compare features. It's the first platform of its kind.

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Disney Cruise Line Aces Environmental Exam

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Big-name environmental organization Friends of the Earth recently released its 2013 Cruise Report Card, and Disney Cruise Line has come out on top, earning an A.

The report ranks the world's major cruise lines according to their ships' sewage treatment, air pollution reduction, and water quality compliance. Go Disney!

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo courtesy of Disney

Disney Magic Cruise Relaunches With Super Heroes On-Board

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I’m not an experienced cruiser, but when I heard there was a ship that has Iron Man’s armor, Thor’s hammer, and Captain America’s shield, I knew my kids would be the perfect passengers.

With twin 4-year-old boys in the house, superhero talk starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at bedtime. Disney’s relaunched Disney Magic has a new Marvels Avengers Academy program to give the short-cape set a sneak peek into the Avengers’ world.

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Cruise Travel Twitter Chat on Wednesday, October 30th

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Love cruising? Are you a ship aficionado or novice? We’re discussing the best new destinations, themes, amenities, and insider travel tips for cruise travel this Wednesday, October 30th from 2-3pm EDT.

Our panel of experts will share the best cabins that they’ve ever stayed in, the new lines and voyages that they’re most excited for, and cruise planning tips. Ask them for their insider advice!

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Time-Lapse Video: Raising the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship

After nearly 20 months since Costa Concordia's shipwreck off the coast of Italy, the vessel is finally upright. The above video shows the ship over the course of a 19-hour operation to pull it up from its capsized state.

Maria Pedone

 

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Cruise Lines Ban Smoking on Balconies

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Disney became the third cruise line this week to announce new smoking bans on private balconies, following similar moves from Cunard and P&O.

As Travel Weekly's Hollie-Rae Merrick reports, the policy changes are responding to guest feedback and safety concerns. Smokers will still be able to light up in designated areas on open decks according to the cruise lines.

This is the latest in a string of recent smoking bans, such as beach bans in Jamaica and Oahu. All are attempting to make commonly-trafficked tourist areas more appealing to—and healthier for—all visitors.

Peter Schlesinger is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo by iStockphoto

Cruise News: A Female Captain for Silversea!

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This week Silversea Cruises announced that for the first time in its 20-year history, one of their ships will have a female captain. Swiss-citizen Margrith Ettlin will be taking the helm of 132-guest Silver Explorer expedition ship.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty of our planet, and its countless different cultures,” Ettlin says. “I thought that spending a life at sea would be the perfect way to explore the world.” Her first stops as captain? The worlds tough-to-navigate, ice floe-filled polar regions.

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New Cruise Safety Disclosures

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Starting today, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Lines—which represent nearly 90 percent of the cruise business in North America—will begin posting allegations of ship-board crimes on their websites, all in an effort to address concerns related to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA). T+L reached out to Cruise Lines International Association for comment. Their take?

Cruising is one of the safest, most enjoyable vacation experiences for millions of people every year, and the crime rate on cruise ships is a small fraction of corresponding rates on land.

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Cruise News: New Princess Ship and Hong Kong Terminal

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The past week has been a big one for cruising:

Last week in Southampton, England, a very pregnant Duchess of Cambridge (née Kate Middleton) christened the new 3,600-passenger “Royal Princess” ship from Princess Cruises. She said: “May God bless her and all who sail in her!” before cutting a ribbon that sent a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne scurrying towards the bow (godmothers for previous Princess ships have been equally glamorous, from Audrey Hepburn to Diana, Princess of Wales, who named the first Royal Princess in 1984). Life on board is decidedly royal-worthy, with private poolside cabanas and SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed walkway that extends 28 feet beyond the top deck.

In other news: Hong Kong just opened its new state of the art cruise terminal. The $1 billion, Norman Foster-designed space will allow mega ships to dock in Hong Kong (the first to pull in: Royal Caribbean’s 3,000-passenger Mariner of the Seas). Our favorite part of the terminal? The rooftop garden, where you can picnic with locals while taking in a prime view of the Hong Kong skyline.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Photo courtesy of Kai Tak Cruise Terminal

Cruise News: Passenger Bill of Rights

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The vast majority of cruises are fabulous—and without incident. But this week, in the (literal) wake of a fire on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, Cruise Lines International Association released big news: a freshly-signed "Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights." As a cruiser, your rights are tenfold. You have:

  1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

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