Cruise lines often use the Cruise Shipping Miami conference as a place to reveal details of new ships, and this year is no exception.
Tuesday, Princess Cruises held a press conference to highlight new features of its Royal Princess, which debuts in Europe this June. Its signature feature — a "seawalk'' extending 28 feet beyond the hull — has been driving chatter for the past year. The latest revelations are details designed to keep the conversation going. About half require a separate fee. Among the offerings:
° New (and complimentary) on-demand programming in stateroom TVs, including movies and television series.
° A tea tower and tea sommelier who will help passengers create their own blend to take home.
° Mobile QR-code tour of the ship's $2 million collection of art
° Outdoor art installation by the marine artist, Wyland
° Whiskey flights offered at the signature Wheelhouse Bar
° Onboard intranet
° $3,000 spa package for four including all-day massages in a private cabana
° Largest outdoor movie screen (this one is 30 percent bigger than those elsewhere)
° A daily menu of 8 flavors of hand-made gelato
° Four different "dancing fountain'' shows
Windstar execs also talked about new itineraries for the three ships it has purchased from Seabourn that join the fleet over the next two years. Expect sailings in Latin America, the British Isles, the Far East and a circumnavigation of Sicily. Tahiti sailings start in spring of 2014.
Jane Wooldridge is T+L's cruise editor.
Photo by istockphoto
The cruise industry addressed safety issues head-on at its annual industry conference, giving the first question of the annual CEO panel to Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill, who described an in-depth review by Carnival and outside experts to determine how the company and other cruise lines can prevent future incidents. Still, the industry response to the recent Carnival Triumph breakdown and other ship failures at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference were carefully scripted, and specifics about both the cause and future changes were limited.
Cahill stressed the rareness of such incidents and the fact that no one was hurt. But Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, who also appeared on the panel, said that in the future all lines will likely pay attention not only to strict safety but also to passenger comfort when an incident does occur. Goldstein also addressed a commonly expressed concern that the industry is poorly regularly. Not so, he said. Regardless of where a ship is, it is under the regulation of various agencies at all times.
Cruisers with yen for the exotic can do so in high style.
U.S.-based Lindblad Expeditions has purchased Australia-based Orion Expeditions, known for its luxury service to remote destinations including Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Australia's Kimberly region. The Orion ship will join the Lindblad fleet in March 2014.
"Following two straight years of record revenues, it was the natural progression for company growth," Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, said in a release.
Award-winning Lindblad is known for its small-ship expeditions run in partnership with The National Geographic Society. Orion's single ship, the 102-passenger Orion, will take on The National Geographic brand. Itinerary details haven't yet been released, but a Lindblad spokesperson said the Borneo and Kimberly sailings will continue into 2014.
The disabled Carnival Triumph limped into port in Mobile, Alabama late Thursday night four days after a fire stranded it off the coast of Mexico and left it with limited power, air conditioning, and functioning toilets. Conditions aboard the ship had deteriorated, and its decidedly untriumphant return to the States was watched closely by the media. Here’s what’s being said:
CNN delivers an iReport compiling tweets and photos from Triumph passengers. Among them: shots of people sleeping in hallways and a tweet from a passenger thanking the ship’s crew for taking care of the ship.
After a brief delay caused by a broken tow line, a trio of tugs is again hauling the disabled Carnival Triumph toward in Mobile, Alabama. It should arrive later this evening.
Triumph departed Thursday with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew. It was scheduled to return to port early Monday after a weekend stop in Cozumel, but fire broke out Sunday morning in the engine room. The cause of the blaze, which was put out by automatic systems, is still not known.
The ship lost propulsion and had to rely on emergency generator power, leaving passengers with a limited number of working bathrooms and no air conditioning. Guests have reported long lines for food and said they were forced to use bags as toilets.
Sailings aboard the ship have been cancelled through April 13, the cruise line said. Current passengers will receive a full refund, plus $500 and a discount on a future voyage.
For updates, see stories from The Miami Herald, where Travel + Leisure cruise editor Jane Wooldridge, the Miami Herald's Business editor, oversees cruise news coverage.
Jane Wooldridge is the cruise editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruises
You've probably read most of the horrors experienced by the passengers on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph, currently being towed to Mobile, Alabama, after an engine-room fire disabled the ship's generators on Sunday. By all accounts the situation can only be described as heinous. But it gets worse…
Among the nightmarish conditions: nonworking toilets, odors so overpowering that people are vomiting everywhere, so little food that passengers must stand in line for hours in the hopes of getting nothing more than an onion sandwich, and sewage "sloshing" in the hallways and seeping through the walls! And yet few media are reporting an equally horrifying (though unconfirmed) bit of news: The ship may have stopped serving alcohol.
Singapore ramped up its appeal as a cruise destination with the opening of the $400 million International Cruise Terminal last May. It doesn’t have any height restrictions, which means the large ships, like the Oasis-class Royal Caribbean ships, can now dock in Singapore. Just when Singapore-bound boaters didn’t think it could get any better, the existing Singapore Cruise Centre completed an $11 million renovation earlier last year. All aboard!
Jennifer Chen is Travel and Leisure's Asia correspondent.
Photo by KC Hunter / Alamy
In honor of Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 20th birthday, T+L Cruise Editor Jane Wooldridge spoke with Mark Conroy, the President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises with 38 years in the industry.
Q: What was your first cruise-related job?
A: While attending the University of Miami in 1973, I worked weekends on the pier at NCL. We delivered and picked up the ships’ mail, assisted guests going through customs, ran errands, and sold baggage insurance. I also worked part time in the mail room.
Ever heard of an "Air Cruise"? Neither had we. But that’s the MO behind Mauiva, a budding travel company that launched last June with an out-of-the-box idea: bringing the cruise concept out the sea and into the sky. And why not? Taking to the skies means less time in transit, more time to explore, and luxury bragging rights to spare (travelers fly by private plane, and spend nights at four-star hotels along the way). After a quiet—but successful—launch with itineraries on the East and West Coasts, Mauiva is announcing today that it's making waves along one of the most traditional cruise routes—the Caribbean.
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