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Thursday, August 31, 2006
From the great news department: Long-time Royal Caribbean spokesperson Michael Sheehan (whose self-described sphere of responsibility is the "bad news" stories coming out of the line, such as broken ships or storm-related emergency itinerary changes) has received a well-deserved promotion to the newly-created position Associate Vice President of Corporate Communications. He'll still be doing the same job, but it means more money, better office, and possibly the opportunity to occasionally spray a hunting colleague with a load of buckshot.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
From the back to normal department: Carnival's Celebration did return to service on Monday as planned after its unscheduled drydock to repair propulsion system damage from the August 15 incident in Nassau. The special itinerary it sailed beginning last Monday took it only to Freeport, but Tropical Storm Ernesto impending arrival necessitated a slightly early departure from Freeport. Celebration will return to Jacksonville as planned on Thursday and operate Thursday's 4-night cruise as scheduled.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
From the construction department: P&O's Ventura was scheduled to have its keel laid today at the Fincantieri yard at Malfacone (Italy). The ship will be similar to Princess' Caribbean Princess, although not an exact duplicate, and is the largest ever constructed from the UK market. Delivery is scheduled for April 2008. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
From the more change of plans department: NCL decided Ernesto's path would make it too rough at their private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, for Thursday's call by Norwegian Spirit, so the ship will stay in port at Nassau from 3pm on Wednesday until noon on Thursday. 

Monday, August 28, 2006
From the more change of plans department: As Ernesto moves, cruise lines have changed more itineraries and then changed them back. On the currently affected list are: Carnival- Carnival Miracle, Ecstasy, and Elation. NCL- Norwegian Dawn. Royal Caribbean- Enchantment of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas.
   There is a tie on our "biggest surprise" list. The passengers on Majesty of the Seas were expecting to go to Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West; instead they are going to Cozumel. The passenger aboard Norwegian Dawn this week, instead of going to the Bahamas and Bermuda, will be spending the whole time in Bermuda, going to sea at night and in port during the day.  

Sunday, August 27, 2006 - Note: This information was superceded by later updates
From the change of plans department: Carnival joined Royal Caribbean in making itinerary changes to avoid now-Hurricane Ernesto. Affected Carnival ships are Carnival Glory (sailing Aug 26 - now calling at Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten), Ecstasy (sailing Aug 26 - now calling Progreso and Cozumel), Carnival Conquest (sailing Aug 27 - now calling at Progreso, Cozumel and Grand Cayman), Carnival Miracle (sailing Aug 27 - now calling at Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya and Grand Cayman), and Elation (sailing Aug 27 - now calling at Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Nassau).
   Royal Caribbean shifted Freedom of the Seas back to its published itinerary. Two Royal Caribbean ships continue to sail revised itineraries: Rhapsody of the Seas (sailing Aug 27 - now calling at Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel) and Enchantment of the Seas (sailing Aug 28 - now calling at Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West). 
   Ernesto's path now seems to be changing markedly with each update from the NWS with the projected path curving more to the north as it passes over Cuba and then curving more to the northeast on Wednesday morning. It's likely that ships will continue to alter their courses through the week. Ernesto's latest 5-day projected path

Saturday, August 26, 2006 - Note: This information was superceded by the Aug 27 update
From the change of plans department: Royal Caribbean made itinerary changes for the following sailings based on the current path of Tropical Storm Ernesto: Freedom of the Seas (sailing Aug 27), Rhapsody of the Seas (sailing Aug 27) and Enchantment of the Seas (sailing Aug 28). Details - Latest projected path of storm

Friday, August 24, 2006
From the this is going to take longer than we thought department: Carnival has canceled Celebration's August 25 sailing. The ship was to return to service Saturday after an unscheduled drydock to repair damage from the August 15 incident when one of the ship's propellers touched bottom while docking in Nassau. Carnival says the repair is taking longer than anticipated, and Celebration will now return to service with a special 3-night cruise to Freeport on August 28. The next regular voyage will take place as scheduled on August 31.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
From the somebody likes them department: Even though Alaskan voters seem generally annoyed by cruise ships visiting their ports, other places see the value and are not only appreciating what they have, but encouraging more. It's ironic that on the same day as Alaskans were voting on what the industry considers "punitive" measures against it, an article is running in Irish newspapers about how the Irish minister of Transport is hosting a luncheon in appreciation of their association with Princess Cruises (marking Golden Princess fourth of five visits this year). No one would consider Dublin (Ireland) a high volume cruise port, but he estimates that cruise ship visits will pump between E35 and E50 million into the local economy this year. Unlike the majority of Alaskan voters, he views the cruise ships as bringing something valuable into the area, and wants to cultivate more visits. 

Monday, August 21, 2006
From the we're completely out of ideas department: It's official. Royal Caribbean has completely exhausted the entire list of well-known ladies to be godmothers to their ships. They announced today that they are running another contest, this time to choose a godmother for Liberty of the Seas. This will be a travel agent with the finalists chosen by panels and the final selection made by votes of other travel agents. The previous two godmothers were also chosen by outside groups voting. But before you say Royal Caribbean doesn't even have any new ideas on how to choose a godmother, wait until you hear how Liberty's first captain will be to winner of the "So You Think You Can Drive a Boat?" reality TV show on the Spike cable network.  

Sunday, August 20, 2006
From the who turned out the lights department: The lights went out aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas last night about 30 minutes after leaving Vancouver, just after sailing out of Burrard Inlet, and the ship was dead in the water. Emergency lights came on within a couple of minutes, and power began to be restored within about 15 minutes, and was fully restored within about a half hour. A tug boat was sent out to keep the ship from drifting. Engineers aboard found that a valve closed when it shouldn't have, cutting off fuel to the engines. The ship was back under way in about 90 minutes after the Canadian Coast Guard inspected the ship.  

Sunday, August 20, 2006
From the get outta the way department: When Celebrity's Summit docked in Seward yesterday, it brought along a little something extra. A whale measuring between 25 and 30 feet long was wedged in the bulbous bow of the ship and noticed by a dockworker after the ship tied up. It was apparently struck sometime after the ship left Disenchantment Bay, but the crew aboard Summit didn't even feel the impact. The carcass was towed to nearby Thumb Cove by a tugboat where a necropsy will be performed to ascertain if the while was killed by the impact with Summit or if it was already dead when it lodged on Summit's bulbous bow.  

Thursday, August 17, 2006
From the more trouble department: Carnival's Celebration arrived back in Jacksonville this morning without incident, and will depart this afternoon on the modified itinerary as previously announced. The line has decided that the ship will need to be drydocked to complete the repairs to the propulsion system and will cancel the August 21 voyage to accomplish that. Details will be in this afternoon's edition of Cruise News Daily. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
From the update department: Remember Cougar Ace, the car carrier that listed 80 degrees in the North Pacific a few weeks ago? The dramatic Coast Guard photos of it made Crown Princess' 15-degree list, about which there was so much talk, look like child's play. Reports from Alaska tell us the ship was towed to the Alaskan port of Dutch Harbor and has slowly been righted. The ship is not almost level and is ready for towing to another port to have the cargo (new Mazdas) offloaded. Most experts are now agreeing it was a ballasting problem that caused the incident. While there are certainly differences between Crown Princess' situation and Cougar Ace's, it should be very comforting to cruise passengers to know that a ship can list to such an extreme angle, take on water, not capsize, still remain afloat for several weeks and be towed halfway across the Pacific without sinking. By the way, many of the 4,800 new Mazda's aboard were specially-ordered customer-equipped vehicles for which their new owners have been waiting for several months. They are still waiting for their new cars and still not knowing when their cars will be deliver and in what condition. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
From the update department: Carnival announced that Celebration's next voyage on Thursday will be modified due to its reduced cruising speed. The ship touched bottom in Nassau yesterday, damaging one engine. (See earlier item.) Thursday's sailing from Jacksonville will skip its call at Freeport and visit Nassau on Saturday (Aug 19) from 7:30am until 6:30pm. Only Celebration's speed is affected; all other services are operating normally. Passengers on Thursdays sailing are being given $100 per person shipboard credit and a 20% discount on a future 3- to 7-day cruise taken by Dec 13, 2007. Passengers also have the option of canceling and receiving a full refund. More details will follow in this afternoon's edition of Cruise News Daily.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
From the oops department: A propeller on Carnival's Celebration touched bottom as the ship was arriving in Nassau this morning damaging one engine. The ship canceled the call and is returning to its homeport of Jacksonville. At the moment, Thursday's cruise is still scheduled, but engineers will make an assessment of the damage when the ship arrives in Jacksonville on Thursday morning. More details will follow in Wednesday's edition of Cruise News Daily.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
From the coming attractions department: Carnival Cruise Lines is set to make an announcement in New Orleans tomorrow afternoon that we understand should make a lot of people in the area very happy. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
From the end of the line department: Yesterday in CND we reported that The Blue Lady, the former S/S Norway, was due at the Alang shipbreaking yard in Bhavnaga today. The yard reports today that the ship has now been beached at plot #V1 and it should be ready for dismantling in about a month. As we earlier reported, NCL says that prior to the sale of the ship, they did remove most of the unique interior fixtures, and they are safely in storage to be used at some point in the future. 

Monday, August 14, 2006
From the moving within department: Carnival Cruise Lines promoted Roberto Martinoli to the newly created position of executive vp of operations. Martinoli has been senior vp of technical operations since joining Carnival in 2000. Prior to that he held the same position with Costa Cruises. 
   At the same time Brendan Corrigan has been named senior vp of marine operations reporting to Martinoli. His responsibilities will include technical purchasing, technical operations, special projects, environmental, safety and quality assurance, deck and engine manning, port operations, and maritime legal and medical affairs. Corrigan started with Carnival as a sanitation officer onboard the ships in 1978 and most recently has been serving as senior vp of cruise operations. 
   As senior vp of hotel operations, Natko Nincevic will also report to Martinoli. His expanded role will include shipboard food and beverage, hotel services, entertainment, the "Camp Carnival" program, shore excursions, shipboard photography and video, as well as shipboard concessionaires, such as the spas, gift shops and art auctions, among others. Nincevic will also oversee shoreside administration departments including crew personnel, hotel purchasing, hotel logistics and warehousing.

Friday, August 11, 2006
From the be prepared department: A check with the major cruise lines tells us that they have sent information to each of their ships about the new TSA security mandates regarding liquids no longer being allowed in the passenger cabins of airliners. They, in turn, are putting the information in letters which will be delivered to each passenger cabin, so passengers disembarking this weekend will be aware of the new requirements and pack (or repack) accordingly. 

Friday, August 11, 2006
From the loose lips department: Here's another reason to take whatever a crew member tells you with a grain of salt. This note was posted on a message board the other day and set readers off in a tizzy fretting about their upcoming cruises: "I was told by a staff member that Infinity would not be going to South America or Hawaii this year but Connie would be going in her place. Infinity was going to take over Connie's Caribbean itinerary..." That was only one scenario that Celebrity was considering as they contemplated Infinity's electrical problem. Of course, as we know from yesterday's announcement, that's not the one Celebrity ultimately chose. Unfortunately, by believing shipboard gossip and spreading it in a public forum, the poster upset lots of people who had booked upcoming cruises on Infinity and Constellation over the fall, winter and spring seasons as they wondered how this would impact their sailings. As we've said before, the people on the ship are at the bottom of the information chain, but they love to gossip about what they've heard. Unfortunately, what they "know" seldom has more than a kernel of accuracy.  

Thursday, August 10, 2006 - 6pm
From the cancel and delay department: Celebrity will cancel Infinity's September 13 sailing for an unscheduled drydock due to an electrical problem in the propulsion system. The drydock will also delay the next scheduled sailing (September 23) by one day and shorten that cruise by one day. Details will be in today's issue of CND.

Thursday, August 10, 2006
From the delay department: Due to the massive disruption in transatlantic and European flights today, expect the cruise lines to respond with some revised schedules for ships turning around today and the next few days in order to accommodate passengers delayed in arriving at the ports. Details to follow. 1230pm Update: Golden Princess will depart today from Southampton but is anticipating a late departure to accommodate passengers en route. 230pm Update: Royal Caribbean says none of their ships are yet impacted by late-arriving passengers. 315pm Update: Holland America will delay the following sailings to assist passengers arriving at the port. Amsterdam from Copenhagen Aug 11 delayed from 5pm until 1145pm. Statendam from Vancouver Aug 11 delayed from 5pm until 730pm. Maasdam from Montreal Aug 12 delayed from 5pm until 9pm. Zuiderdam from Vancouver Aug 12 delayed from 5pm until 830pm. Ryndam from Vancouver Aug 13 delayed from 530pm until 930pm. Veendam from Seward Aug 13 delayed from 8pm until 10pm. Prinsendam from Lisbon Aug 14 delayed from 5pm until 4am on Aug 15. 4pm Update: Windstar is also adjusting sailing times. Wind Star from Pireaus Aug 12 delayed from 5pm until 7pm. Wind Surf from Barcelona Aug 13 delayed form 5pm until 10pm. 530pm Update: Royal Caribbean only had one sailing today, Enchantment of the Seas, and they found none of the European passengers sailing on it were delayed. RCCL has decided for both brands they will be watching their air/sea flights closely and delaying ships on a case-by-case basis if need be.  

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
From the over the hill department: A tour bus carrying passengers from Celebrity's Summit ran off a road in the hills above Juneau on Tuesday and overturned. Most injuries were minor. CND will have details in tomorrow's edition.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006
From the what's missing department: Alaska voters will go to the polls two weeks from today to vote on new taxes for the cruise industry and passengers cruising to Alaska. We don't think Alaskan voters are getting the whole picture, however. We looked at this issue in an article in today's issue of CND. 

Monday, August 7, 2006
From the another reason to buy the insurance department: Ohio media outlets have been running a story about an Ohio family that was flying to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska. To make a long story short, due to flight delays, they missed the ship. So the trip wouldn't be a total loss, they flew on to Juneau to catch the ship there. That's where they were shocked that the cruise line charged them $300 apiece before allowing them to board, since by boarding in Juneau, it would put them in violation of the US Passenger Services Act. The $1,200 is the fine the line will have to pay the government. The insurance also would have paid for the night's hotel and the extra air fare. 

Thursday, August 3, 2006
From the return to sender department: Earlier this week we reported about a group of a dozen Cubans picked up by Carnival Valor last week and repatriated by the Coast Guard this week. Cruise ships picking up Cubans in trouble at sea has become a routine thing in the industry. (It seems to be averaging about two or three times a month.) What has made some of these cases noteworthy lately is that once they pick them up, no country along the route of the ship wants to take them in any longer. More and more lately, it falls to the US, as the last country in the itinerary to do something. Because of the agreement the US has with Cuba, the US would rather the transfer to a US vessel take place at sea. (If they actually set foot on US soil, legally under US laws, it becomes more difficult to send them back to Cuba.) Recently there was an instance where, at the end of the cruise (and the only US port on the itinerary), there was no Coast Guard vessel available to transfer a group of Cubans. (Every other country on the ship's 7-day itinerary, which is repeated every week, had already rejected the possibility of the Cubans being landed in their country.) The US DHS likewise wouldn't let them off the ship in Galveston, so they had to sail on into the next cruise before a USCG vessel could meet the cruise ship and transfer the Cubans at sea for repatriation. This isn't unique to cruise ships. Both USCG vessels and cargo vessels routinely pick up Cubans at sea and in distress. Most cruise passengers, most of whom aren't from the southern part of Florida, don't realize how common this is. Last month (July) the USCG repatriated 159 Cubans picked up at sea. Most are intentionally trying to enter the US illegally.  

Thursday, August 3, 2006
From the Gale & Storm department: Crown Princess also made a last-minute move yesterday to avoid Tropical Storm Chris. The ship went to La Romana in the DR instead of San Juan. It will be in St. Thomas today, having slid behind Chris. Map of 5-day cone of Chris' forecasted path

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 1pm
From the Gale & Storm department: Tropical Storm Chris has caused more changes to ships' paths in the Caribbean this week. Yesterday Carnival made changes to the schedules of Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor and Elation. Today they made further changes to Valor and Elation and added Carnival Legend to the affected list. Royal Caribbean added Freedom to their list of changed itineraries, so their current list of affected ships is Navigator of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. Map of 5-day cone of forecasted path

Wednesday, August 2, 2006
From the end of the line department: Indian courts have now cleared the way for the former SS Norway/SS France to be dismantled at Alang. It is now expected arrive at the breakers within the next 48 hours. For two years, NCL and Star cruises tried to find a buyer for the disabled ship with a workable plan to preserve it, but none stepped forward. In June NCL CEO Colin Veitch told CND that prior to selling the ship, they removed many of the interior fixtures, and they are now safely in storage awaiting a future use on another NCL ship.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - updated 7:00pm
From the tropical storm department: This afternoon Carnival has revised itineraries on three ships and Royal Caribbean, two, to avoid Tropical Storm Chris as it advances through the eastern Caribbean. Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, Elation, Explorer of the Seas, and Navigator of the Seas have all juggled ports on their current sailings. Map of 5-day cone of forecasted path

Tuesday, August 1, 2006
From the end of the story department: A former cruise ship captain pleaded guilty yesterday in Seattle to operating a commercial vessel while under the influence of alcohol. The man was the captain of Celebrity's Mercury when the US Coast Guard boarded the ship for a routine inspection on May 19. They saw signs that made them suspect that the captain had been drinking, and administered a blood alcohol test that registered, 0.181, about four times the legal limit. He was arrested and immediately discharged by Celebrity.
   He pleaded guilty to operating a commercial vessel while under the influence of alcohol yesterday under a plea bargain agreement. The judge in the case sentenced the 47-year-old Greek citizen to one year probation and prohibited him for one year from being employed on any commercial vessel entering US waters without approval in advance by the US Dept of Homeland Security. He was also assessed a $15,000 fine. Originally, the captain's attorney said that he planned to fight the charges based on the fact that he was not actually operating the vessel at the time of the incident.

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