Saturday, June 30, 2012

Old Favorites on Breakaway


HOWL AT THE MOON – HEADLINERS


Two musicians. Two pianos. Too much fun to experience by yourself. Bring your friends and your favorite song requests. This is Howl at the Moon, the world’s greatest dueling piano show at Headliners, which is exclusively on Norwegian Cruise Line. Come sing and dance the night away as our talented musicians jam out and perform your favorite songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today. Want to hear a Billy Joel classic? What about Lady Gaga? Our versatile musicians are up for anything. So get ready for a howlin’ good time.



The Second City






Laugh it up with some of the funniest people on the planet.
This is no ordinary comedy club. This is comedy with the renowned Second City, which is exclusively on Norwegian. Delighting audiences for over 50 years, this comedy troupe is all about improvisational sketch comedy. New York Times calls them “a comedy empire.” It’s hard to argue considering some of their alumni include comedy greats Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and Jason Sudekis, to name a few. So pull up a chair, order a drink and laugh the night away.
   

Click to find out about other Entertainment Options

Singing the Blues at Sea


FAT CATS JAZZ & BLUES CLUB
Inside or Oceanside, blues never sounded so good.

Dark wood floors. Exposed brick. Legends of decades past hanging on the walls. From the moment you step inside, you’ll feel you’re in a swingin’ New York City jazz club. Keep an eye–and ear–open for New York blues star, Slam Allen, who will perform live on most nights.

His unique blend of soul and blues is a style all his own. Whether you’re watching a five-piece performance inside or sitting outside on The Waterfront enjoying a drink, the ocean breeze and the cool sounds, this is the place for some of the best live jazz and blues music you’ll hear at sea.

 New York’s very own Slam Allen made a name for himself when he headlined the house band in the Jazz & Blues Club on Norwegian Epic, and now he will return to center stage in Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club on Norwegian Breakaway.  Blowing audiences away with his soulfully intense blues and jazz performances, Slam has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years.

Guests can sit back and relax in one of the comfortable leather chairs or couches of this hipster-inspired space, while whales away – pouring his heart and soul into every single song. And, only on Norwegian Breakaway, can guests also enjoy his smooth sounds while sitting on The Waterfront, with a drink in hand, taking in the warm ocean breeze.



Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy



Those who have sailed on Norwegian Epic, and had a chance to attend Cirque Dreams & Dinner can attest to how mesmerizing and powerful this experience is. The circus feats that the acrobats perform are mind-blowing, but when you are reminded that they are performing them on a moving ship – it becomes unbelievable.

On Norwegian Breakaway, the Spiegel Tent will feature another spectacular dinner show – An adaptation of the Broadway show CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY, created by famed producer/director Neil Goldberg.


This jungle-themed dinner show will feature the Cirque Dreamers performing their breathtaking feats surrounded by a soaring Ballet of Butterflies, Flipping Monkeys, Hopping Frogs, Spine-bending Lizards and Fanciful Birds in an exotic, awe-inspiring adventure.

The show originally debuted in Vegas and was hailed as “the grandest circus spectacle east of Vegas” by New York Magazine. It then debuted at the Broadway Theatre in 2008 and remains only show of its kind to ever perform on Broadway, and now guests on board Norwegian Breakaway can experience it as well.

Norwegian loves the Big Apple! Norwegian has had a long-standing commitment to New York and now is bringing their newest ship there year-round! In the summer of 2013, the ship will sail to beautiful pink sand beaches of Bermuda. They'll dock at King's Wharf for three days, giving you the freedom to explore the beaches, golf courses, restaurants, shops and history at your leisure, and you'll have three relaxing days at sea to enjoy all the incredible amenities of this world-class ship.

Norwegians Burn the Floor


 From Broadway to Norwegian Breakaway

Burn the Floor is a sizzling and sexy show based on the world-renowned Broadway performance, this non-stop, 45-minute extravaganza is amazing. “Audience-dazzling! Swiveling hips, steamy embraces and high-octane tempos. A non-stop display of pop variations on classic styles, performed with precision and polish,” writes Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.

From Harlem’s Hot Night at The Savoy, where the Lindy, Foxtrot and Charleston were born, to the Latin Quarter, where the Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa steamed up the stage, experience the passion of many popular dance styles.

For a spicier, more intimate performance, check out Burn the Floor as they heat up the dance floor in The Manhattan Room. You may even be asked to step up and show off your best moves. And if you want to brush up on your Rumba, dance and exercise classes are offered throughout your cruise by the amazing dancers.

The show made its debut back in London in 1999, toured around the United States, even performing in Radio City Music Hall, continued on to tour worldwide before premiering on Broadway in 2009, and now Breakaway Theater and The Manhattan Room on Norwegian Breakaway can be added to the show’s impressive resume!


 Norwegian Cruise Line Entertainment

Norwegian Cruise Line's new in house production company, is producing exciting new stylish contemporary shows with New York directors and choreographers.The shows are some of the best in the industry with many exciting options to fill your evenings onboard the ship.
                                  Read More about 



Rock Like a Norwegian



JUST ANNOUNCED! Five-time Tony Award nominated musical ROCK OF AGES will headline the entertainment on board Norwegian Breakaway, along with two additional Broadway shows, CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY, and the dance sensation BURN THE FLOOR. The Second City, Howl at the Moon and New York’s own Slam Allen will also entertain on board.

Rock of Ages on Norwegian Breakaway
Courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line
 ROCK of AGES

Exclusively on Norwegian Breakaway, this 5-time Tony Award nominated famed musical heads up the award-winning entertainment lineup by bringing back the days of the big bands and big hair. Rock out to the scorching hits of the 80s including “Don’t Stop Believin,” We Built This City,” “The Final Countdown,” “Here We Go Again” and much more. 

Set on infamous Sunset Strip in 1987, Rock of Ages tells the story of a boy from south Detroit and a small-town girl, both in Los Angeles chasing their dreams of making it big and falling in love. 

Get ready to experience the smash hit exclusively at sea aboard Norwegian Breakaway.


The 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her year-round homeport of New York City in early May 2013. The ship will begin weekly summer seven-day cruises to Bermuda on Sunday, May 12, 2013. From October 2013 through April 2014, the ship will offer voyages from the heart of Manhattan to the Bahamas & Florida and the Southern Caribbean.

Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest ship ever to home port in New York City and will embark on weekly cruises from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. The ship calls will bring an estimated 140,000 additional embarking passengers into New York City over two years, resulting in an estimated $35 million in additional direct spending in the City.

Related Blog Posts:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

High Speed Internet at Sea Coming Soon

    O3b Networks & Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas


Providing Ultra-Fast Internet Communications

If you've ever been on a cruise ship and purchased internet minutes, you'll appreciate this announcement.  Royal Caribbean International, long known for their innovations, including the largest ships afloat - Allure of the Seas and sister ship Oasis of the Seas - has announced a venture with O3b Networks of St. John, Jersey, Channel Islands that will make the internet lover smile.

Connectivity at Sea

This week, O3b Networks announced a milestone multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to provide high-speed satellite-delivered broadband service aboard the world’s largest cruise ship. By summer 2013, more than 8,000 guests, staff and crew members aboard the cruise industry leader’s flagship Oasis of the Seas  will be the first to enjoy O3b’s enhanced connectivity at sea as if connected to fiber at home or in the office.

Steerable Beams Tracking your ship

  • O3b’s satellite beams follow the ship on its normal route.
  • O3b maintains the ship within the beam centre.
  • O3b receives latitude/longitude updates on two hour intervals via in-band or out-of-band channel.
  • Beam tracking updates in real time if the ship has to change course. 
Steve Collar, Chief Executive Officer, O3b Networks said:

  “With O3b Maritime, Oasis of the Seas will experience connection speeds that are an order of magnitude higher and latency that is four times lower than offered in the market today. At O3b, we believe that affordable, high speed broadband should always be within reach – wherever you are in the world, on land and at sea - and we are delighted to showcase the unrivalled performance of O3b Maritime together with Royal Caribbean.”

Pricing has not been announced at this time.  Currently internet pricing at sea starts around 65 cents per minute and can decrease if you purchase a package plan.   What would you pay to have high-speed access from your stateroom or public areas of the ship?

 

P&O Cruises Grand Event


Celebrating 175th Anniversary
Seven Ships Meet in Southampton

Marking its 175 years of history, P&O Cruises' Grand Event features all seven ships meeting in Southampton on 3 July. The occasion will be marked with a Red Arrows' fly-by, a visit by Royalty, HRH The Princess Royal, and a spectacular "daytime pyrotechnics" display as each ship leaves port.

The P&O  story began in 1837 when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded the British Government contract for a weekly mail service to the Iberian Peninsula. 

This will be a first in the history of the company  that all seven ships are together in their homeport of Southampton, England.          


About P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises is a British-American owned cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, and operated by Carnival UK. Originally a constituent of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company, P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise line in the world, having operated the world's first passenger ships in the early 19th Century. It is the sister company of, and retains strong links with P&O Cruises Australia.

P&O Cruises was de-merged from the P&O group in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003, to form Carnival Corporation & plc.

P&O Cruises currently operates seven cruise ships with a total passenger capacity of 14,970 and a 5% market share of all cruise lines worldwide. Its most recent vessel MS Adonia joined the fleet in May 2011.

Monday, June 25, 2012

End of a Species - Lonesome George

Lonesome George with our Naturalist Guide
 Rest In Peace 
Lonesome George

Early Sunday morning, Lonesome George, the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, was found dead in his corral at the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, by members of the Galapagos National Park Service.  His exact age was unknown, but he was believed to be more than 100 years old.

A member of one of eleven subspecies of Galapagos tortoise native to the Galapagos Islands, he had been labelled the rarest creature in the world, and was a potent symbol for conservation efforts in the Galápagos and internationally.

Not so Lonesome

Lonesome George was found on Pinta in 1972 although Pinta tortoises were thought to be extinct. Since then, Lonesome George has been part of the Tortoise Program of the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS). Various efforts were made to get George to reproduce. Two female tortoises collected on Wolf Volcano (Isabela Island) were put in Lonesome George’s corral. These females produced eggs at the end of 15 years with Lonesome George. Unfortunately all of the eggs were infertile. Later two females from the Espanola tortoise population (the species most closely related to Pinta tortoises genetically) were with George until the end.   

A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora was not complete without stopping by Lonesome George's corral to see him drinking from his favorite watering hole or simply just lounging around.  We were fortunate to see him a few years ago when we were on Celebrity Xpedition in Galapagos.   George didn't mind having people checking him out, and would pose for photos with his guests.

A New Beginning

The cause of Lonesome George's death won't be known until a necropsy is completed.   He is being kept in a cold chamber to avoid decomposition prior to the necropsy.

His legacy will live on.  Following Lonesome George's death, Edwin Naula, Director of the GNPS, stated, “This July, the GNPS is convening an international workshop to focus on management strategies for the restoration of tortoise populations during the next ten years. The workshop will be held in honor of Lonesome George.“

Restoration of Lonesome George's island of Pinta as well as the other islands in the Galapagos archipelago will keep him in our minds for generations to come.    

Related Blog Posts:

Hope for Lonesome George
Galapagos - Charles Darwin Research Center (Day 9)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Costa Concordia Salvage Begins

See photos of the salvage plan

Titan Salvage of Pompano Beach and its Italian partner Micoperi were awarded the Costa Concordia salvage operations back in April.  Plans called for the salvage teams to upright and remove the  114,500-ton ship which ran aground January 13, 2012, off the coast of Giglio, Italy, taking the lives of 30 people, two of which remain missing to this day, more than five months later.

Main article: Costa Concordia Listing after Deadly Accident

As salvage begins, let's take another look at what happened that fateful night in January:
Graphic: The final moments of the Costa Concordia


Re-floating Concordia    Courtesy: Parbuckling Project


UPDATE: 13 July 2014:

Refloating to commence:  Costa Concordia the Final Journey

UPDATE 03 July 2014:

Costa Crociere: installation of all sponsons completed, ten days to possible refloating

Genoa, Italy has been selected to receive the vessel for salvage

Following installation of the last sponson, we can start the countdown to refloating and final departure of the wreck from Giglio Island,” said Costa Crociere CEO Michael Thamm.Now all our energies are focused on the successful conclusion of this unprecedented engineering challenge to respect a precise commitment: remove the Concordia wreck as soon as possible, in compliance with the highest environmental and safety standards.”

Watch footage from Italian police divers in the sunken ship just before it is scheduled to be towed:  Inside Costa Concordia Now & Before




Update: July 9, 2013 - Project 68% Completed

The engineers of the Titan-Micoperi consortium confirm that the "parbuckling” of the Concordia can be completed by the end of summer 2013, at the beginning of September.

Update: Sept. 6, 2013 - Parbuckling of Costa Concordia Approved

UPDATE 16 Sep 2013:

Parbuckling of Costa Concordia Begins 

Watch Live

Costa Concordia Parbuckling project has begun. Watch Live:
http://mashable.com/2013/09/16/costa-concordia-salvage-video/


Latest Image from Parbuckling Project Site
  
10 PM Central 16 Sep - Concordia is Upright
Graphic on How Costa Concordia will be Raised   
Civil Protection Gallery 16 Sep
Parbuckling Project Multimedia
Parbuckling phase - update on the beginning of operations

17 Sep 2013 The morning after

In this BBC article, there is a time-lapse video of the parbuckling.  There are also several pictures from the morning after.   The night image didn't show the extent of the damage to the side of the vessel but that is made clear in daylight.  There is also graphics showing how the process was completed.

Costa Concordia: Stricken ship set upright in Italy (BBC)


14 Dec 2013 - Costa Concordia Stable / Winterizing in Progress

According to the press release issued by the salvage companies, The Concordia is stable: after the minor movements registered in the 15 days following the parbuckling the wreck has settled on the platform and seabed. Since then, the monitoring systems active 24/7 have not indicated any significant movement.

The winterization operations are almost completed and the last details will be finished next week.

 The next phase:

Installation of caissons on starboard side

then other 15 refloating sponsons will be attached to the starboard side of the wreck. These caissons will be used during the subsequent re-floating stage.

It is anticipated that this next phase will begin in April, 2014.   The caissons and sponsons are being built in Genoa and Livorno shipyards.
 

Update: 60 Minutes takes you inside the salvage operations



Update:  Salvage to continue through Spring 2013 
Costa Concordia Wreck Removal Engineering Plan Presented to the Osservatorio (14 Aug 2012)

Raising the Costa Concordia: Italian sunseekers look on as salvage team start

The following schedule, provided by the salvage companies to the SunSentinel in Florida, calls for the work to be completed approximately one year from the award of the contract.


Schedule of Salvage Operations
  • Site inspections of the Concordia through July 31
  • securing and stabilizing of the ship by Aug. 31
  • installation of caissons (watertight chambers) on left side of ship and construction of submarine platforms done by Nov. 15 
  • rotation of the wreck to start with installation of boxes on the ship's right side on Dec. 1
  • ship to be up-righted by Jan. 15 and 
  • delivered to an Italian port by Jan. 31
  • cleaning and replanting of marine flora to be completed at site by April 30
 Source: SunSentinel - Costa Concordia salvage work begins



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Tropical Storm Debby in Gulf


Tropical Storm Debby
4th Named Storm of
Atlantic Hurricane Season

 
500 PM EDT WED JUN 27 2012
 
...DEBBY LOSES TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS...NOW A POST-TROPICAL
CYCLONE...

We have been tracking this developing storm for a few days now. The low pressure was building in the Gulf of Mexico.  There were two forces which potentially could determine the strength and direction of the storm.  Before becoming a Tropical Storm, Debby was influenced by the jet stream coming down from Canada and a high pressure system coming from the west.



 

 
 Cruise Ship Impact

UPDATE: 28 June

Holland America Line Veendam is being impacted by post-tropical storm Debby.   The ship has left Bermuda a day earlier than scheduled due to the approaching storm.  Remnants of Debby were located 300 miles west of Bermuda when the ship prepared to depart for New York.

****

Carnival Ecstasy, which departed Port Canaveral, FL. on Saturday, has rearranged port order to avoid the tropical storm.  Revised itinerary is as follows:
  • Nassau, Bahamas Sunday (instead of Key West)
  • Freeport, Bahamas Monday (instead of at sea)
  • Key West Tuesday
  • At Sea Wednesday; Returning as scheduled on Thursday
Carnival Freedom cancelled scheduled call in Key West, Monday June 25th.  It will have an unscheduled stop in Cozumel, Mexico on Tuesday rather than 2 sea days before continuing the remaining ports of call.

Carnival Paradise arrived in Tampa,FL Monday two hours behind schedule due to the inability to have the pilot board the ship.

SUMMARY OF 500 AM EDT...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...29.6N 81.0W
ABOUT 25 MI...45 KM SE OF ST. AUGUSTINE FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...ENE OR 75 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...998 MB...29.47 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS


THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN 12 TO 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY
YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE. 
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS. 

 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

STORM SURGE...ELEVATED WATER LEVELS IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW ALONG
THE SOUTHWESTERN AND NORTHEASTERN COASTS OF FLORIDA SHOULD SUBSIDE
LATER TODAY. FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE SEE
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE.

RAINFALL...RAINFALL ASSOCIATED WITH DEBBY WILL CONTINUE TO DIMINISH
ACROSS THE FLORIDA PENINSULA TODAY. ADDITIONAL ISOLATED RAINFALL 
AMOUNTS OF UP TO ONE INCH WILL BE POSSIBLE IN SOME OF THE LINGERING
RAIN BANDS...MAINLY OVER SOUTHERN FLORIDA.   


 
 
HISTORICAL DATA:   Graphics    Storm Archive   
 
400 PM CDT SAT JUN 23 2012
 
...TROPICAL STORM DEBBY FORMS IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF THE LOUISIANA
COAST...
 
1000 PM CDT MON JUN 25 2012

...TORRENTIAL RAINS AND FLOODING WILL CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS
ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND NORTH FLORIDA... 
 
500 AM EDT WED JUN 27 2012

...DEBBY BECOMING LESS ORGANIZED AS IT REACHES THE EAST COAST OF
NORTH-CENTRAL FLORIDA...   

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trasnportation Strikes in Italy

24 Hour Transport Strike

For Italians hearing about a transport strike, they would ask "Where is the News?"   Strikes like the current one have become part of the culture - a fact of life in Italy.  Those on vacation in Italy would see things completely differently.

Paralyzes Rome

Public transport unions' strikes have paralyzed Rome. The strike kicked off at 0830 hours CET and is scheduled to last 24 hours.  Strikes like this are unpredictable, sometimes they never actually happen and other times they end early.

The protest involves all of Rome’s public transport services including buses, trams, A and B metro lines, Cotral coaches and the Rome-Giardinetti and Rome-Civitacastellana-Viterbo light rail links.

According to Rome's transport authorities the majority of the Metro lines stopped running between 0830 - 0900 CET. Buses and trams were running on a looser schedule.  Local transport strikes were suspended between 1700 and 2000 hours to ensure minimum mandatory service. Union rallies kicked off at 0900 hours from Piazza della Repubblica heading for Piazza SS Apostoli.

Elsewhere in Italy

The rail strike in Venice was called off, but the vaporettos (water buses) went on strike. The public sector strikes occurred in Milan, Rome, Florence, Naples, Turin and Genova. 

The 24-hour strike affected Actv water and bus transport, and the Hellovenezia ticketing and call center services. During the strike , buses ran in these time bands: 6.00 - 8.59 a.m.; 16.30 - 19.29. Essential water services also ran during the strike.

Airport handling staff were on strike 22 June at Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Venice airports and many flights were cancelled.  Passengers flying to/from these airports should expect delays and/or cancellations and should check with their airline before traveling.  Other airports in Italy appeared to be unaffected.

Know Before You Go


The interesting thing about transport strikes in Italy, and other parts of Europe, is that they are generally pre-announced and follow strict guidelines.  As you can see from above, transportation resumes between peak travel times and essential services are not impacted.   That would be of little comfort to you as a visitor should you find yourself in need of transportation during the active strike hours, so it best to be aware of pending actions before you travel.


Here are some useful resources that can help:






In addition, consult your transportation carrier's website for latest information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TS Chris Forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Chris
3rd Named Storm for Atlantic 2012 Season


1100 AM AST FRI JUN 22 2012
 
...CHRIS BECOMES POST-TROPICAL...THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY...
 
The National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL has begun tracking a new tropical storm Southeast of the Canadian Maritimes.  It doesn't pose a threat to land and may only last a few days before heading out further to sea.  Nonetheless, we will monitor this storm in case it changes directions or becomes a threat to cruise ships.

Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...44.6N 46.9W
ABOUT 335 MI...535 KM ESE OF CAPE RACE NEWFOUNDLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WSW OR 255 DEGREES AT 16 MPH...26 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...990 MB...29.23 INCHES
 
 
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT. 

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/H...
WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  ADDITIONAL WEAKENING IS FORECAST...AND CHRIS
SHOULD MERGE WITH ANOTHER EXTRATROPICAL LOW ON SATURDAY.
 
 
Historical Data:   Graphics  Storm Archive  


500 PM EDT TUE JUN 19 2012

...ANOTHER HIGH-LATITUDE TROPICAL STORM FORMS...NO THREAT TO LAND...


500 AM AST WED JUN 20 2012

...CHRIS MOVING OVER THE NORTH ATLANTIC WITH LITTLE CHANGE IN
STRENGTH...
 
 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Silversea Entering Galapagos Market

What are these Land Iguanas Looking For?

A common site on the islands of Galapagos are land iguanas huddled together looking out to sea.  Perhaps these iguanas are looking for the new major cruise line on the block - Silversea.

Silversea announced that it has just bought the 100-passenger, 4,077-ton expedition ship Galapagos Explorer II and upmarket Ecuadorian tourism company Canodros.  The ship will continue to operate as Galapagos Explorer II until September 2013, when it will be refurbished to Silversea standards and renamed.

The purchase is part of Silversea's long-running desire to expand further into the expedition market. It will also mean the line can offer Galapagos itineraries for the first time.

The line said that the ship will stay the same structurally with its 50 ocean view suites.  Of those, 24 have private balconies.  Public spaces include a restaurant, piano bar, library and internet station, main lounge, outdoor bar, two outdoor whirlpools and a marine observation deck.

 
 Exploring Galapagos

Small ships, such s the Explorer II, are a must in the Galapagos Archipelago.  The area is protected and access is strictly controlled by the Galapagos National Park.

Actual exploration is typically done via transfers by zodiacs from the main ship to the islands.  In some cases, the tour may simply be a zodiac ride along the coastline.

Celebrity Xpedition is currently the only major cruise line in the Galapagos.  Private charters, such as those operated by Canodros, National Geographic, and others are the alternative choices for touring the region.

The ship will be out of service next September for some modifications and then it will be back under the Silversea name and Ecuadorian flag with its all-Ecuadorian crew.  We look forward to providing choices to our clients that want to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience walking in the footsteps of Darwin.





Thursday, June 14, 2012

Carlotta Third Named Storm in East Pacific


Tropical Depression THREE-E 

Became Hurricane Carlotta

A tropical depression formed off the coast of Southern Mexico Wednesday night June 13th.  It was expected to strengthen into the third named storm and in fact became a Category 2 Hurricane.  The Hurricane made landfall near Puerto Escondido, Mexico with 90 MPH winds.


800 PM PDT SAT JUN 16 2012
 
...CARLOTTA NOW A REMNANT LOW OVER THE HIGH TERRAIN OF MEXICO...
...LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES POSSIBLE FOR SEVERAL
MORE DAYS...
 
THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON THIS SYSTEM.  
 
SUMMARY OF 800 PM PDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.1N 100.3W
ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM ENE OF ZIHUATANEJO MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...25 MPH...35 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 5 MPH...7 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB...29.71 INCHES
CURRENT WATCHES & WARNINGS
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS DISCONTINUED ALL WATCHES & WARNINGS

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 25 MPH...35 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  THE REMNANT LOW IS EXPECTED TO DISSIPATE ON SUNDAY.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...CARLOTTA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL
ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES...100 TO 200 MM...THROUGH MONDAY
OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN MEXICO.  ISOLATED STORM TOTAL AMOUNTS OF
15 INCHES...375 MM...ARE POSSIBLE.  THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE
LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES.


Historical Data:     Graphics   Archive  

1100 PM PDT FRI JUN 15 2012
 
...CARLOTTA SLOWLY WEAKENING AS IT MOVES ALONG THE SOUTHERN COAST 
OF MEXICO...HEAVY RAINFALL OCCURRING OVER THE COASTAL MOUNTAINS... 
 
800 PM PDT FRI JUN 15 2012
 
...CARLOTTA MAKING LANDFALL NEAR PUERTO ESCONDIDO MEXICO WITH
ESTIMATED 90-MPH WINDS...

500 PM PDT FRI JUN 15 2012
 
...EYE OF CARLOTTA JUST OFF THE COAST OF MEXICO VERY NEAR PUERTO
ANGEL...   

800 AM PDT FRI JUN 15 2012
 
...CARLOTTA BECOMES A HURRICANE...NEW WARNINGS AND WATCHES FOR THE
COAST OF MEXICO... 
 
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WARNING FOR THE
PACIFIC COAST OF MEXICO FROM PUNTA MALDONADO TO ACAPULCO.
 
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR THE
PACIFIC COAST OF MEXICO WEST OF ACAPULCO TO TECPAN DE GALEANA.
 
200 AM PDT THU JUN 14 2012
 
...DEPRESSION STRENGTHENS INTO TROPICAL STORM CARLOTTA SOUTH OF
MEXICO...EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE BY FRIDAY...


800 PM PDT WED JUN 13 2012
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS AND EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN...HURRICANE
WATCH ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF SOUTHERN MEXICO...
BARRA DE TONALA TO PUNTA MALDONADO 
 
 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Revised Carnival Loyalty Program


On Carnival Cruises, you Become
A Very Important Fun Person 

Carnival Cruise Line has just announced a modification to their loyalty program, which takes effect this month. Depending on your current status with Carnival, you will like or dislike the program immediately - there is no in between. The big changes are the switch to nights at sea instead of number of cruises and the introduction of new tiers.

 Five VIFP Club Levels

If you’ve never cruised before, sign up now to hear about great members-only fares and promotions. If you’ve been on board before, you’re already a member. Just activate your profile to make sure all your information is up-to-date and to find out your VIFP Club membership level.  Read more ...

Blue (1st sailing): If you’ve never cruised with Carnival before, you can become a VIFP Club member even before you’ve booked to start taking advantage of members-only fares, specials and more.

Red (2nd sailing to 24 cruise days): Benefits include a complimentary alcoholic or specialty beverage at breakfast, lunch or the Punchliner Comedy Brunch (or main dining room if not available); a new e-newsletter; and members-only cruise specials and other offers.

Gold (25 to 74 cruise days): In addition to Red level benefits, members receive a Gold member pin; and access to a Gold, Platinum and Diamond members-only shipboard cocktail party with complimentary drinks and appetizers.

Platinum (75 to 199 cruise days): In addition to Gold level benefits, members receive priority embarkation, debarkation, tender service and dining times (including in main dining room and specialty restaurants, if applicable); an enhanced logo gift item, along with a ship- and year-specific pin each voyage that will be redesigned annually; a dedicated phone number and concierge desk on board; complimentary wash-and-fold laundry service; casino buy-one-get-one tournament entry; and complimentary arcade $5 play for guests under 18.

Diamond (200-plus cruise days): In addition to Plantinum level benefits, members receive guaranteed dining times and specialty restaurant reservations; acknowledgement from the captain at the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Party; unlimited wash-and-fold service; complimentary dinner for two in the specialty restaurant of their choice, if applicable; complimentary luggage tag and passport holder; a one-time complimentary upgrade or a third or fourth guest sail free offer; and a $100 per member contribution to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Milestone Cruises

VIFP Club members sailing on their 25th, 50th and 75th cruise   will receive a shipboard credit equal to 25, 50 or 75 percent of their cruise fare, respectively, for that voyage. Members sailing on their 100th cruise earn a complimentary Caribbean, Mexican Riviera or Alaska voyage of up to eight days in length.

The new program takes effect on sailings on or after June 25, 2012 (on Carnival Breeze it starts July 9th).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gusty UK Impacts Cruises

UK Experiencing
Gale Force Winds & Flooding

A nation that earlier in the week was celebrating their Queen's Diamond Jubilee, was forced indoors as Mother Nature brought Gale Force Winds and Rain to south-west England, the Midlands, the South East, and Wales Thursday and Friday.  The Met Office issued severe weather warnings and flood warnings and alerts for Wales and southern England as the weather system moved north-east.

Cruise Ships Impacted

MSC Opera, which was scheduled to dock Friday morning local time (GMT) in Southampton, made it into port at 4 p.m.  The adverse weather conditions and focus on passenger safety prompted the delay which threatened to impact the 8-Night Baltic & Northern Europe cruise departure.

Costa NeoRomantica was unable to dock in Dover, the ship's turn-around port, Friday as scheduled.
Instead, the ship  was redirected to Amsterdam to offload passengers from the current cruise and pick up those scheduled to sail on the next, also an 8-night Baltic & Northern Europe cruise. Passengers on both itineraries were being shuttled by air at the cruise line's expense.  No further delays were expected.

Weather Improving   

The Met Office forecast called for improving conditions on Saturday feeling warmer with some sunny spells.  Some areas however,especially northern England and mid and north-west Wales, will continue to see rainfall and flood warnings remain for many parts of the UK.


More information about the unusual weather for June:



Has Weather Ever Impacted Your Cruise?

We had a June departure scheduled from Dover, England one year where our ship was diverted to Southampton due to strong winds, similar to those of this weekend.   Once again, the cruise line handled the logistics for passengers so that they could get home or join their cruise.

What weather-related cruise stories do you have?  We'd love to hear your stories and how the cruise lines handled the situation.    As Hurricane Season gets into full swing, we can expect more weather-related itinerary changes.  We'll do our best to keep our readers informed as we have in the past.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Queens Jubilee Celebration


Queens Diamond Jubilee
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
 2 - 5 June, 2012

 The Queen celebrates 60 years as Monarch in 2012.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years since her accession in 1952. Royal Jubilees celebrate significant periods in monarchs’ reigns and national life. In 2012, The Queen will become only the second UK monarch to mark 60 years on the throne. Celebrations were previously held for Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2002.

On Saturday 2 June, The Queen will attend the Epsom Derby. On Sunday 3 June the Big Jubilee Lunch and the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place. On Monday 4 June a concert will be held at Buckingham Palace and a network of beacons will be lit throughout the UK and the Commonwealth. On Tuesday 5 June a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which will be followed by a formal carriage Procession.

Cruise Lines Join in Celebration

Cunard Line will celebrate Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee with a special event on Tuesday 5 June 2012, the final day of the extended bank holiday.  Cunard's three Queens will meet at their home port in Southampton for the first time, with a Red Arrows display and spectacular fireworks in the evening!


Vantage Points - Click to Enlarge (courtesy Cunard)
Approximate Schedule:

Three Ships Arrival: 5.30am - 6.15am
Red Arrows Aerial Display: 6.20pm -6.45pm
Firework Spectacular: 10.20pm - 10.35pm
Three Ships Departure: 11pm

Marking 74-Year Association

The celebration takes place onboard all day as well, including talks from guest speakers with royal connections and a display of royal art. A rare vintage of Graham's 1952 Diamond Jubilee Tawny Port, specially released for Cunard's Jubilee cruises, will be on sale. Grand Balls will be held on each ship on June 6 preceded by a Commemorative Dinner with a souvenir keepsake menu that sets out the 74-year association of Cunard with The Queen. All TV coverage of the June 5 royal procession through London will be screened onboard.


Additional Cruise Line Celebrations

P&O Cruises will hold a royal gala dinner onboard each ship with a toast to the Queen, and a rendition of the national anthem after both evening performances in the theatre on June 5, as well as royal-themed movies onboard and live coverage all day on June 5 of events in London. Each ship will hold a street party and a tea dance with Champagne, with special Jubilee cakes on display. Kids in the children's clubs will be put to work decorating bunting for the street parties. 

Princess Cruises' Grand Princess will have a brass band send-off as its sails for Scandinavia from Southampton on June 2, with British comedians and singers onboard, a ‘British Invasion' production show, and royal-themed movies including The Queen and The King's Speech showing, as well as British-themed trivia pub quizzes and even a children's party. Passengers will be issued with union jack flags and hats and there will be a huge party on deck at which the national anthem will be sung and strawberries and cream and Pimms served, as well as cider and British beers. Royal historian Janet Campbell will give lectures. The Captain will raise a champagne toast to the Queen, and British pub food will be served at lunchtime on every sea day during the voyage, as well as a gala dinner one night with a special dessert dedicated to the Queen. A giant Jubilee cake will also be displayed in the Atrium. 


Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas will host a lavish Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch on June 3 (the day those of us ashore are being encouraged to throw street parties) Approximately 3,634 guests will participate in this street party at sea. Special dishes over the weekend will include British classics such as prawn cocktail, roast beef, bread and butter pudding, beer-battered fish and chips, steak and kidney pie and Cumberland sausages with mash. The ship's Royal Promenade will be decked out in red, white and blue bunting and passengers will be given flags to wave and will be able to enjoy live music, traditional village fair-style stalls, English strawberries and Union Jack cupcakes. Sculptors will create special Jubilee ice carvings throughout the ship. On June 4, the Royal Promenade will be the venue for the ‘Rock Britannia' performance by the onboard team. 

Some of the less-known lines will also hold various festivities and have special menus to commemorate the event.  We're certain that there will be many pints raised in tribute to the Queen cruise-industry wide.

Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth on the achievement of this milestone.



Friday, June 1, 2012

Carnival Breeze Delivered


Welcome Carnival Breeze


Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami, FL, took delivery of the 130,000-gross ton Carnival Breeze at a traditional maritime handover ceremony held on May 31 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Carnival Breeze is a sister ship of the Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, which were delivered by the Monfalcone shipyard in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

3,690-Passenger 'Fun Ship' Departs Sunday from Venice on Inaugural 12-Day Cruise


Carnival Breeze will depart on its inaugural cruise from Venice this Sunday, June 3, operating a special 12-day Mediterranean cruise that ends in Barcelona June 15. Following a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona that runs through October 25, Carnival Breeze will reposition to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning November 24, becoming Carnival Cruise Lines' largest South Florida-based ship.



"Carnival Breeze represents the continued evolution of our product, offering a huge array of branded experiences for our guests and inviting public spaces each with its own personality and character, all enhanced by the spirited fun that makes a Carnival cruise so memorable," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. 

Carnival Breeze Firsts
  • Thrill Theater, an immersive multi-dimensional special effects experience that makes viewers feel as if they're part of the movie
  • Bonsai Sushi, a full-service sushi restaurant
  • Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, a free open-air barbecue venue
  • Comfort Kitchen, a casual poolside spot for American-style comfort food
  • Guy's Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri
  • BlueIguana Cantina, a Mexican-themed dining venue
  • Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant that brings the heritage of Carnival's captains to the table
  • "Fun Ship 2.0" , all entertainment elements, including Hasbro, The Game Show


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Welcome to Carnival Breeze - the 24th Ship in the Carnival Cruise Line Fun Ship Fleet