Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tropical Storm Gil Forms in East Pacific

Tropical Storm GIL

POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE GIL

THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE CENTRAL PACIFIC
HURRICANE CENTER ON GIL UNLESS REGENERATION OCCURS

Post-Tropical Storm GIL

500 PM HST TUE AUG 06 2013

Gil becomes a post-tropical cyclone 

This is the last advisory

WIND:
NEAR 40 MPH...65 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT
SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED
Tropical depression 7-E  hast strengthened into the next named tropical storm of the 2013 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season.  The storm formed off the southwest coast of Mexico.  GIL has become a hurricane Tuesday afternoon (7/31) as predicted.  After degenerating into a remnant low, GIL has picked up intensity once again and become a tropical storm (8/5).   It is over a thousand miles east southeast of the Hawaiian islands at this time.  CPHC Advisories:   Tropical Storm GIL

 
Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
 
SUMMARY OF 500 PM HST...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
LOCATION: 13.5N 142.5W

ABOUT 935 MI: 1510 KM ESE OF HILO HAWAII

ABOUT 1150 MI: 1850 KM ESE OF HONOLULU HAWAII

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 30 MPH: 45 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT: WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 7 MPH: 11 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE: 1010 MB or 29.83 INCHES
 
Maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph, 45 km/h, with higher gusts.  
 
 Historical Data:

800 AM PDT TUE JUL 30 2013
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS WELL SOUTHWEST OF THE MEXICAN COAST...
 
200 PM PDT WED JUL 31 2013
...GIL NOW A HURRICANE... 
 
1100 PM HST MON AUG 05 2013
...GIL INTENSIFIES TO A TROPICAL STORM AS IT CONTINUES WESTWARD... 

Tropical Storm Flossie off Hawaiian Islands


Tropical Storm Flossie

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii is issuing advisories on tropical depression Flossie, located in the vicinity of the island of Kauai. The system is moving toward the west northwest at about 18 mph.

Jul 30, 2013 2:00 pm HST
The remnants of former tropical depression Flossie is located about 225 miles northwest of Lihue, Kauai. The system is moving toward the west northwest at about 18 mph. There is a near zero percent chance of redevelopment.

Cruise Ship Impact

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America was impacted by Flossie. The line decided to leave Maui a day early, in the abundance of caution, to head out to sea avoiding the approaching storm.The ship returned to its regular schedule today when it docked in Hilo.  No further impacts are expected as the storm weakened.

There are no Watches or Warnings currently posted

Historical Data:

CPHC Storm Archive      NHC's Archive for Flossie      Graphics Archive 

800 PM PDT WED JUL 24 2013
 
...A TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS BETWEEN MEXICO AND THE HAWAIIAN
ISLANDS...
 
200 AM PDT THU JUL 25 2013
 
...DEPRESSION STRENGTHENS TO A TROPICAL STORM... 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

2013 Summer Celebration Now History

Streamwood Summer Celebration
A Success  

 We've just completed our eighth annual appearance at the Streamwood Summer Celebration's Business Expo sponsored by the Streamwood Chamber of Commerce.

The Summer Celebration runs the last weekend of July each year and is well attended.  We've had all sorts of weather over the years.  This year we had the coolest temperatures with highs in the low 60's with a gentle breeze Friday and Saturday.   There was a downpour on Friday night which concluded with a gorgeous full rainbow.   It reminded us of some we've seen onboard a cruise ship after the storm had passed. Sunday was a little warmer, but it was still more like Fall than Summer.

In addition to show-casing local businesses in the expo tent, there were plenty of activities for families. Local bands performed throughout the weekend, there was a parade on Saturday with over 100 entries this year, rides for the children and young at heart, bingo, face-painting, ice cream eating content for the children and lots more.  Many volunteers from the village make this a special event each and every year.

Lots of Interest in Land & Sea Vacations

We spoke to many couples, families, and individuals that were interested in getting away for a vacation.   As usual, we had a large supply of brochures, which we call "wish books" on hand.  One of the most popular brochures was the Royal Caribbean Oasis-class brochure which highlights this marvelous cruise ship. The most popular destination was Alaska.   Coming in second was Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the site of our National Convention last year.

Unfortunately, I couldn't talk with everyone personally this year because I was splitting my time between my booth and the Streamwood Chamber of Commerce's booth.   I still devote a lot of my time to the Chamber as past President, Board of Directors Member, and Chairman of the Streamwood Summer Celebration Chamber of Commerce Committee. On Friday, I was kept busy getting the businesses setup.  Saturday and Sunday I was busy answering questions at the Chamber booth, making announcements, and  judging contests.  I'd like to thank my Executive Assistant, Donna Lenhardt, who was invaluable in getting the event setup and assisting me throughout the weekend. 

Special Promotion Continues

We had a special Royal Caribbean promotion with up to $200 onboard credit for select sailings now through 2014.  The exclusive offer runs through July 31st - so be sure to see our website and Facebook Fan Page for complete details or contact us directly.

There are many other promotions - see our website for complete details.   For those looking for a Resort Getaway, see our current Resorts & Tours Specials.


Become a fan on Facebook

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tropical Storm Dorian Forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Dorian

Tropical Storm DORIAN

 
Tropical Storm DORIAN
500 PM EDT SAT AUG 03 2013
 
...DORIAN NO LONGER A TROPICAL CYCLONE... 
 
WIND:
NEAR 30 MPH...45 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT 
SHIP IMPACT: NONE

The forthTropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season formed over the Eastern Atlantic.
There we never any coastal watches or warnings posted for this storm.
 
 
  
SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...31.7N 77.6W
ABOUT 160 MI...255 KM ESE OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...30 MPH...45 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 45 DEGREES AT 16 MPH...26 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1013 MB...29.91 INCHES 
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 30 MPH...45 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. THE POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE IS EXPECTED TO DISSIPATE EARLY
SUNDAY.  
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
500 AM EDT WED JUL 24 2013
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC...
 
1100 AM EDT WED JUL 24 2013
...FOURTH NAMED STORM OF THE 2013 SEASON FORMS...
  
500 PM AST SAT JUL 27 2013
...DORIAN DEGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL WAVE...
...THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY... 

500 AM AST SAT AUG 03 2013
...DORIAN REGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION EAST OF FLORIDA...
 
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Streamwood Summer Celebration 2013


Once a year we participate in our local Chamber of Commerce hosted Summer Celebration. 
This will be our 8th appearance at the show.  I am Chairman of the Chamber's Summer Celebration Committee once again and am excited to report that the Business Expo will be even  bigger than last year.  I will be splitting my time between the Chamber Booth and my personal one, and look forward to meeting many of our fans during the three day event.

For those in the area, it is your chance to meet us in person to discuss your vacation plans, pick up some brochures, and take advantage of our exclusive offers.   Here is one of those specials that we will be featuring during the event July 26th - 28th.  We also extend the offers to our readers - ask us for complete details.  (click the link above for times and location)


Drawing on or about August 12, 2013 (click to enter)
Click here for more information about the Summer Celebration
Click for Schedule of Events

Brochures

We get several calls for cruise ship and land vacation brochures.   In this day and age, the majority of the suppliers have cut down on printed materials and replaced them with online versions.

We stock brochures that are available from our suppliers on a regular basis and increase our stock in time for this annual event.   If you are in the area, this is a great opportunity for you to browse our "wish books".

Did you know that was how I convinced my husband to take an Alaska cruise?  He had said, "It's cold there.   We live where it's cold.  Why would I go on a vacation to somewhere that is cold?"   Well we've been back to Alaska several times since that initial look at an Alaska brochure.

What's on your wish list?   If we don't have a brochure, we'll be happy to do some research and provide you with all the details.

Come see us if you are in the area this weekend - or call us afterwards to discuss your wish list.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tons of Fun on Carnival Vista

New 135,000 Ton Ship Named 
Carnival Vista 

Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO, Gerry Cahill, announced on Saturday that the next newbuild, the 25th for the line, would be called Carnival Vista.

Keeping with the tradition of taking the best features from one ship and adding some new unique features, you can expect some of the FunShip 2.0 restaurants, entertainment, and bars.

Fincantieri to Build

Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri, has long been associated with Carnival Corporation.  Fincantieri is one of the largest groups in the world in the design and construction of merchant and naval vessels specializing in the construction of complex ships with high technological content such as cruise ships and large ferries.

This new 135,000 ton ship will accommodate 4,000 guests and enter service in 2016.  Specific details about the design, homeport, and itineraries will be announced at a later date.



Want to Learn more about Fun Ship 2.0?
TOUCH this Image and then move your mouse over the various interactive buttons. 
Watch Videos, View Menus, Get More Facts.   Enjoy !!
 


Introducing Fun Ship 2.0
Hasbro The Game Show Coming Soon to Sea

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Five Sentenced in Costa Concordia Shipwreck


Plea Bargains Accepted

Five defendants: Roberto Ferrarini, director of Costa Cruises' crisis unit, cabin service director Manrico Giampedroni, first officer Ciro Ambrosio, Indonesian helmsman Jacob Rusli Bin and third officer Silvia Coronica had their day in court.

Sentences ranged from 18 - 34 months.   It is unlikely that any of them will actually have to serve jail time as sentences less that 2 years are suspended in Italy and longer sentences can be appealed.

Costa Concordia jail sentences
  • Roberto Ferrarini - two years and 10 months
  • Manrico Giampedroni - two years and six months
  • Ciro Ambrosio - one year and 11 months
  • Jacob Rusli Bin - one year and eight months
  • Silvia Coronica - one year and six months
These proceedings were separate from the main trial for Captain Schettino, which began this week as well.  Unlike this trial, which was short due to the acceptance of the plea bargain agreements, we expect a lengthy trial for him, given the amount of testimony and complexity of the case.

Ongoing Coverage

Watch Concordia Captain's Trial Finally Underway for updates on the legal proceedings.

We have been covering the entire Costa Concordia accident, including the cleanup and legal proceedings.   For complete details, see our anchor article:  Costa Concordia Listing after Deadly Accident

Meanwhile, salvage operations continue.  It is now expected that the parbuckling project can be completed by early September, 2013.   See our article:  Costa Concordia Salvage Begins

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Concordia Captain's Trial Finally Underway


 Captain Francesco Schettino's
Trial Finally Begins

Eighteen months following the deadly accident off the coast of the Island of Giglio in Italy, the trial of  Captain Francesco Schettino has finally begun in the tiny Italian village of Grosseto.  The courtroom is in the local theater since the normal facilities would be too small.

Last week, the trial was delayed due to a nationwide strike by lawyers: Captain Schettino Gets Day in Court or Not

The entire world is watching as this trial continues.  Schettino is accused of three criminal charges: involuntary manslaughter for the deaths; causing a maritime disaster; and causing personal injury to 150 people who were badly hurt in the accident.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.  It is expected that if that does occur, his lawyers would request that be served under house arrest arrangements since there would be no risk of him repeating the offense (his captain days are over).

In addition to the criminal charges, there are 250 civil actions filed against the captain, all of which will be represented at the hearing.  Among the actions is one by Costa Crociere, the owner of the Concordia, which is suing the captain for causing the accident and destroying the Concordia.  Immediately after the accident, the cruise line distanced themselves from the captain, clearly indicating that they would take these actions against him.

29 October 13 Summary


Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan, who was on the bridge when the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed into a reef near Italy, killing 32 people, has testified at the captain's manslaughter trial that the two were lovers.

20 July 13 Summary

Four other officers and the crisis coordinator for the line will also be on trial this week.  They filed similar plea bargains in May and their hearing is to  begin this Saturday.

A court in Italy has convicted five people of manslaughter over the Costa Concordia shipwreck off Giglio island which killed 32 people in January 2012.  The plea bargains were accepted by the court.
Prison sentences ranged from 18 months to 34 months.  Five Sentenced in Costa Concordia Shipwreck

19 July 13 Summary

Just two days after the trial of Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino opened, it was adjourned until September 23 for the Italian court system's summer break.

17 July 13 Summary

Yesterday, defense lawyers for Schettino entered a plea bargain request where he would plead guilty in exchange for a 3 year 5 months sentence.  The prosecution voiced  opposition to the request, which is likely to be turned down by the court in a few days.

Names of the victims and how they died were read into the court's record as the trial began.

Ongoing Coverage

Watch this post for updates on the legal proceedings.

We have been covering the entire Costa Concordia accident, including the cleanup and legal proceedings.   For complete details, see our anchor article:  Costa Concordia Listing after Deadly Accident

Meanwhile, salvage operations continue.  It is now expected that the parbuckling project can be completed by early September, 2013.   See our article:  Costa Concordia Salvage Begins

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Galapagos - Urbina Bay


ISABELA ISLAND - URBINA BAY

Day 7 of our Celebrity Xpeditions finds us on Isabela Island, which is by far the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago.  It is composed of of 6 shield volcanoes - Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf that over the years have coalesced into one island.  All of these volcanoes are considered still active with the last volcanic eruption occurring in May 2008.

There are five different subspecies of giant tortoises spread upon their slopes; almost all of the wonderful photos of these giant tortoises you may have seen were probably taken here.   Today we had our first opportunity to find the giant land tortoises (Galapagos).

Urbina Bay, a beautiful, small bay located at the east base of the Alcedo volcano.  The bay coastal area was uplifted 12 - 15 feet along a shore line of over a mile.  The violent action happened so quickly that it trapped crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, and fish species inland. 

The trail starts on the beach where a wet landing is made, the tour is approximately 3200m, and runs through sand substrates, pumice rock, lava, coral and vegetable formations in a coastal area that has had a lift; in addition burrows of land iguanas can be seen.

This area is also directly affected by the Cromwell Upwelling Current.  The Cromwell is a dep water current traveling along the equatorial line form the western Pacific eventually coming in contact with the Galapagos Archipelago.  This nutrient rich, cold water comse to the surface with temperatures reaching the mid 50's (10 -13 degrees Celsius).

View our Galapagos - Urbina Bay photo album for more images of our morning excursion on the Island of Isabela.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ethiopian 787 Dreamliner Fire Closes Heathrow

Ethiopian Dreamliner Fire at LHR      Courtesy Sky News
London Heathrow Suspended Flights Temporarily

According to London Heathrow airport website, a fire broke out on a parked Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner causing a suspension in flights in and out of the airport.  As of this writing, there is a resumption of flights, but they are advising you check with your airlines for possible delays.

The good news is that noone appears to have been injured as there were no passengers onboard at the time of the incident.   Several fire brigades responded to the scene and runways were closed while the fire was contained.

UPDATED: 12 July 2013 - 1:45 PM Eastern

The runways are now fully re-opened, following an earlier internal fire on-board an aircraft. All arrivals and departures were earlier temporarily suspended while airport fire crews attended to the incident. Flights are now operating, but will be subject to delay.

Please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to Heathrow.

The Metropolitan Police Service have advised that there were no passengers on board and no reported injuries.

You can keep up-to-date by following Heathrow on Twitter and Facebook or receive individual flight status updates on the move by using our mobile app or our SMS text service.


Boeing Dreamliner Plagued with Problems

This just adds to the string of problems that have been reported with the new aircraft developed by Boeing.  Earlier this year, the FAA grounded all Dreamliners operated by U.S. companies until they could be deemed safe following problems with the batteries onboard.  Boeing found what it believed was a solution to the problem and flights resumed.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grandeur Returns to Service But Bumps Passengers

Grandeur Returns to Sea

Following the fire onboard Grandeur of the Seas at the end of May, the ship was taken out of service to complete the necessary repairs.
The ship will sail its first cruise July 12th and is currently sailing a 1-night cruise for media and travel industry partners.

Repairs Not Completed

As was the case with the recent return to service on Carnival Sensation, despite best intentions, not all of the necessary repairs have been completed on Grandeur of the Seas.  Therefore, Royal Caribbean has "re-accomodated" passengers from 78 cabins to allow room for the repair crew that is onboard. These passengers will be provided with full refunds and an incentive for a future cruise.

It is hoped that all repairs will be completed during this cruise so that passengers on the July 19th sailing won't be impacted.   Unfortunately, this is the risk one takes when booking the first sailing following a dry-dock of this nature.  

For more information about the fire, see our previous article:  Fire Onboard Grandeur of the Seas

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Introducing Seven Seas Explorer


Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced that they have signed a contract with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard to build the most luxurious cruise ship in the era of modern cruising. The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will be named Seven Seas Explorer with delivery scheduled for summer 2016.

"This new ship order represents an exciting time of growth for our company as we build the next generation of cruise ships for the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line," Frank Del Rio, the chairman and CEO of Regent's parent company, says in a statement accompanying the announcement. "Seven Seas Explorer will be the most luxurious cruise ship ever built."

The price tag for this all-suite, all-balcony luxury cruise ship has been reported to be $450m USD making it the most expensive luxury vessel afloat according to the line.
 Ship Statistics
Name: Seven Seas Explorer Registry: Bahamas
Builder: Sestri Ponente (Genoa) shipyard Country Built In: Italy
Ship Completion Date: Summer 2016 Number of Restaurants: 6
Number Balcony Suites: 369Capacity: 738
Gross Tonnage: 54,000Beam: 102 feet
Length: 732 feetDraft: 23 feet
Power: diesel-electric enginesSpeed: 20 knots

World-renowned architectural and interior design firms Tillberg Design AB, RTKL Associates and ICrave are designing the vessel, which will have the features the line is known for with the following highlights:

  • 369 suites ranging from 300 square feet to 1,500 square feet
  • six open-seating gourmet restaurants
  • signature nine-deck atrium
  • two-story Explorer Theater
  • three boutiques  
  • an expansive Canyon Ranch SpaClub®

"This new ship order is part of our disciplined growth strategy to expand our footprint in the luxury market," said Kunal S. Kamlani, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Since we purchased the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand in 2008, the ships have sailed full with industry-leading yields. We strongly believe that now is the right time to expand our fleet as our loyal guests have asked for a greater array of itineraries and our travel partners have proven that there is pent-up demand for a new Regent ship."

Additional information about the new ship will be released in the coming months and we will provide updates as the information is provided to us.   We look forward to welcoming this new ship to Regent's fleet.  Click the following link for more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Captain Schettino Gets Day in Court or Not

Costa Concordia Trial
Scheduled to Begin
July 9, 2013

It has been 18 months since the Costa Concordia accident which claimed the lives of 32 people off the coast of Giglio, Italy.  After pre-trial activities completed, including plea bargains for Costa Cruise Line, Captain Francesco Schettino arrived at the temporary "court house" in Grosseto, Tuscany ready for his day in court.

But Wait ...

As is customary in Europe, approaching labor strikes are pre-announced. As anticipated a nationwide Lawyers Strike, scheduled to start today, caused a delay in the Costa Concordia trial.   The judge had no choice but to delay the trial until July 17th.


Upset lawyers had called for a strike after the Prime Minister passed a decree attempting to streamline jury trials.  The PM accused the lawyers of blocking reforms. 

We have been covering the entire Costa Concordia accident, including the cleanup and legal proceedings.   For complete details, see our anchor article:  Costa Concordia Listing after Deadly Accident

Meanwhile, salvage operations continue.  It is now expected that the parbuckling project can be completed by early September, 2013.   See our article:  Costa Concordia Salvage Begins
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tropical Storm Chantal Heading for Puerto Rico

Tropical Storm CHANTAL
Interactive Map (click)
NHC Experimental Graphic TS Chantal  (click for latest)

Tropical Storm CHANTAL 

 
Tropical Storm CHANTAL
500 PM EDT WED JUL 10 2013
 
...CHANTAL DEGENERATED INTO A WAVE...
...COULD STILL PRODUCE HEAVY RAINS 
AND GUSTY WINDS...

WIND:
NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THE GOVERNMENT OF JAMAICA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAVE
DISCONTINUED ALL THE REMAINING TROPICAL STORM WATCHES AND WARNINGS.
 
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
 
THERE ARE NO COASTAL TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS OR WATCHES IN EFFECT.
 
INTERESTS IN EASTERN CUBA...JAMIACA AND THE BAHAMAS SHOULD
MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THE REMNANTS OF CHANTAL.
 
SHIP IMPACT: Carnival Liberty (6 July, 7-night sailing)
altered port order; replaced St. Thomas with Nassau

Carnival Victory (8 July, 5-night sailing)
diverting to Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Freeport

CARNIVAL:  Tropical Storm Chantal UPDATE
ROYAL CARIBBEAN:  Important Updates

The third Tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season formed over the central tropical Atlantic and is racing towards the Lesser Antilles.  Watches and Warnings have now been posted for several islands as well as Puerto Rico.

 

SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...16.5N 73.7W
ABOUT 230 MI...370 KM ESE OF KINGSTON JAMAICA
ABOUT 260 MI...415 KM S OF THE EASTERN TIP OF CUBA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 23 MPH...37 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1012 MB...29.88 INCHES

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE WAVE ARE NEAR 45
MPH...75 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
 
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS COVER A LARGE AREA OVER THE WATERS MAINLY
SOUTH OF HISPANIOLA. 


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS COULD STILL AFFECT HAITI AND
EASTERN CUBA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. 
 
STORM SURGE...LOCALIZED COASTAL FLOODING IS POSSIBLE IN AREAS OF
ONSHORE FLOW ALONG PORTIONS OF THE SOUTH COAST OF HISPANIOLA.
 
RAINFALL...THE REMNANTS OF CHANTAL ARE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL
RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES OVER HISPANIOLA...JAMAICA...
CENTRAL AND EASTERN CUBA...AND THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS.  ISOLATED
MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS SOUTHERN PORTIONS
OF HISPANIOLA.
 
Source: NHC Public Advisory
 
Historical Data:
 
1100 PM EDT SUN JUL 07 2013
...TROPICAL STORM CHANTAL FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL
ATLANTIC...
...RACING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TOWARD THE LESSER ANTILLES...

800 AM AST MON JUL 08 2013
...CHANTAL MOVING QUICKLY TOWARD THE LESSER ANTILLES...
 
1100 PM AST MON JUL 08 2013
...CHANTAL RACING TOWARD THE LESSER ANTILLES...
 
800 AM AST TUE JUL 09 2013
...CHANTAL OBSERVED BY BARBADOS AND MARTINIQUE RADARS... 
 
800 AM EDT WED JUL 10 2013
...CHANTAL MOST LIKELY A TROPICAL WAVE...
...RECONNAISSANCE PLANE EN ROUTE TO VERIFY.. 
...CHANTAL HAS NOT DEGENERATED INTO A TROPICAL WAVE... 

 

Friday, July 5, 2013

5th Tropical Storm Forms in East Pacific

Tropical Storm ERICK



Tropical Storm ERICK
800 AM PDT TUE JUL 09 2013
 
...ERICK DEGENERATES INTO A REMNANT LOW...
 
Last NHC advisory issued on ERICK 

WIND:
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 30 MPH...
45 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
NONE
SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED

Tropical Storm ERICK

The fifth tropical storm of the 2013 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season formed off the southwest coast of Mexico. It is expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain on the coastal states.  After becoming a hurricane on Saturday, the storm has weakened once again to tropical storm strength.

 

SUMMARY OF 800 AM PDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...22.2N 110.0W
ABOUT 50 MI...80 KM S OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1001 MB...29.56 INCHES
 
A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.
 
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...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 45 MPH...75
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  ADDITIONAL WEAKENING IS EXPECTED DURING
THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...AND ERICK IS FORECAST TO BECOME A REMNANT
LOW WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 60 MILES...95 KM
MAINLY TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE CENTER.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1001 MB...29.56 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN PORTIONS
OF THE WARNING AREA IN BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR WITHIN THE NEXT FEW
HOURS.

RAINFALL...ERICK IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF
1 TO 3 INCHES OVER THE SOUTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA.

SURF...SWELLS GENERATED BY ERICK ARE AFFECTING PORTIONS OF THE
SOUTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA.  THESE SWELLS ARE LIKELY TO
CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING SURF AND RIP CURRENT CONDITIONS.

 
Historical Data:


800 AM PDT THU JUL 04 2013
 
...NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS SOUTH OF MEXICO...
 
800 PM PDT THU JUL 04 2013
 
...FIFTH NAMED TROPICAL STORM OF THE SEASON FORMS...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR PART OF THE SOUTWESTERN COAST
OF MEXICO... 
 
800 AM PDT FRI JUL 05 2013

...ERICK INTENSIFYING AND COULD BECOME A HURRICANE BY TOMORROW...
...NEW TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR SOUTHWESTERN MEXICO... 
 
800 AM PDT SAT JUL 06 2013
 
...ERICK BECOMES A HURRICANE...
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH ISSUED FOR PARTS OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR... 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Saluting the Military on 4th of July



Independence Day 2013
 
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States
 
We hope that you are enjoying a wonderful Fourth of July with family and friends. Across the globe, there are many families that are apart from loved ones. Those are the men and women of the Armed Forces who are serving to protect those freedoms that we celebrate today. Let us salute those men and women who sacrifice so that we can enjoy this holiday.

We'd like to thank all the military personnel, past and present, for serving their country. Many of the cruise lines offer military discounts. If you know someone who has served, make sure they are aware of these discounts - it's the least we can do for them that have made this day possible.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Benefits of a Resort Vacation

Why would you select a resort vacation? 
 First of all, there's the view !!

Everyone loves to travel and we know you’re always on the lookout for new vacation options as well as special offers. As Vacation Specialists, we are dedicated to helping you plan the perfect vacation, whether it’s on a Mediterranean cruise through Europe or at an all-inclusive beach resort in the Caribbean. We work hard to provide our customers with as many options as possible. With this in mind, we are very excited to share that we have just added a huge selection of RESORT VACATION PACKAGES to our website. 

Resort vacations afford travelers many of the same benefits as cruise vacations plus plenty of unique ones as well. Most of the resort vacations that we now offer are all-inclusive, so your accommodations, meals, beverages, activities, and more are all included, just like a cruise. They may also be packaged with airfare, adding even more convenience and value, plus extra perks such as free and non-stop airport transfers, a free/extra night’s stay, or a free round of golf.




Not only do we offer exclusive pricing, but most of our resort packages provide all-inclusive accommodations that include meals, beverages, tips and more. Some even include airfare and extra activities. Whether you travel as a couple or with a large family, there are no surprises when it comes to managing your vacation budget.


Whether you want to wake up to the sound of the ocean or be in walking distance to historical landmarks, a resort vacation can put you in the destination you’ve always dreamed of. We feature hundreds of resorts in the top 4 vacation destinations around the world: Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and Florida.


Get all of the extra perks that are included in resort vacations, such as airport transfers, multiple restaurants, water sports, kids programs, entertainment and more. Resorts understand the need to provide you with an unforgettable vacation and they go the extra mile to ensure your stay is just that. And everyone gets to do what they want, when they want, at whatever pace works best for them.

 

We’re pleased to be able to enhance our vacation options to our customers.
 We hope you’ll contact us when it’s time to book that next getaway – by land or by sea!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Diary of Celebrity Xpeditions Galapagos


A Land Beyond Xpectations

Over one hundred fifty years ago, a man wrote about his quest that took him to a place where he would discover how life evolved thousands of years ago.  Travel with us as we follow in his footsteps and discover a land that is inhabited by species that can be found nowhere else on earth.
Come with us on our Celebrity Xpeditions adventure that begins in Quito, Ecauador where we had the opportunity to visit local sites including the Equatorial Line Monument.   Here you can stand on a line between the two hemispheres.
Our ultimate destination is an archipelago of volcanic islands near the equator in the Pacific Ocean.  We are met by a team of naturalists who transport us by Zodiacs to our waiting ship, Celebrity Xpedition.  

Celebrity Xpedition recently had their license suspended as we had reported (Lobsters Keep Cruise Ship from Entering National Park) and have now resumed sailing (Celebrity Xpedition to Resume Galapagos Sailings).  We are assembling past articles, posting images, and adding new material in this diary so that you can easily follow our complete adventure.   If you have any unanswered questions, we'd be happy to answer them and also help plan your own unforgettable adventure.


Port Blog Posts Photo Albums

Celebrity Xpeditions Packing for Galapagos
Why Visit Galapagos
Galapagos - Onboard Celebrity Xpedition
Celebrity Xpedition Food 
Celebrity Xpedition
1Quito, EcuadorCelebrity Xpedition - Day 1J W Marriott Quito
2Quito,
Ecuador
Celebrity Xpedition - Day 2 - Quito Old Town
Celebrity Xpedition - Day 2 - El Crater
Celebrity Xpedition - Day 2 - Equatorial Line Monument
Quito - Old Town
Quito - Lunch Stop
Quito - Equator
3Baltra
North Seymour
Celebrity Xpedition - Day 3 - Flight to Baltra
Galapagos - Day 3 - Welcome Aboard
Celebrity Xpedition - Day 3 North Seymour Island
Celebrity Xpedition
Galapagos - North Seymour Island  
4Kicker Rock;
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno;
Española Island
Galapagos - Kicker Rock
Galapagos - Puerto Baquerizo Moreno 
Galapagos - Day 4 Snorkeling Orientation 
Galapagos - Española
Galapagos - Kicker Rock 
Galapagos - San Cristobal 
Galapagos - Espanola Islands
5Floreana Island;
Cormorant Point - Baroness Lookout
Galapagos - Cormorant Point (Floreana)
Galapagos - Baroness Outlook (Floreana)
Galapagos - Cormorant Point
Galapagos - Baroness Lookout

6Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz);
Bartolomé Island
Galapagos - Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
Galapagos - Bartolomé Island (Day 6)
Crossing the Line 
Galapagos - Bachas Beach
Galapagos -Bartolome Islands
Crossing the Line Party - Galapagos Cruise (video) 
7Urbina Bay (Isabela);  Espinoza Point (Fernandina)
Galapagos - Urbina Bay
Galapagos - Fernandina Island (Day 7 Afternoon)
Galapagos Surprise - There She Blows
Galapagos - Urbina Bay
Galapagos - Dry Landing Fernandina Island
Galapagos - Scenic Cruising
Galapagos - Zodiac Ride Fernandina
8Santiago Island;
 Santa Cruz
Galapagos - Santiago (Day 8 Morning)
Galapagos - Santa Cruz (Day 8 Afternoon)
Galapagos - Santiago Island
Galapagos - Snorkeling (Santiago)
Galapagos - Dragon Hill (Santa Cruz) 
9Santa Cruz; Puerto AyoraGalapagos - Charles Darwin Research Center (Day 9)
Galapagos - Santa Cruz Highlands (Day 9 Afternoon)
Galapagos - Final Night on Xpedition
Galapagos National Park
Galapagos - Santa Cruz Highlands 
Farwell Party - Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos (Video)
 
10 Baltra to Quito Celebrity Xpedition - Disembarkation
Galapagos - Quito (Day 10)
Xpedition Disembarkation
11 Quito Galapagos - Mindo Cloud Forest (Day 11)
Galapagos - Return Home










Monday, July 1, 2013

Emissions Regulations Prompt Deployment Changes

North American Emission Control Area     Source: EPA
New Rules Impact Cruise Industry

We are eighteen months away from the implementation of new regulations restricting the Sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions of marine fuel in the North American Emission Control Area (ECA).   Under the new regulations, effective January 1, 2015, cruise ships operating in the zone must only emit .01% instead of the currently allowed 1% levels.  The ECA requirements will become enforceable in the U.S. Caribbean ECA in January 2014.

Complete details can be found in this EPA Briefing.

These low-sulfur fuel requirements could dramatically increase operating costs for the cruise lines and Carnival Cruise Lines has announced deployment changes of several ships as it tries to get ahead of the curve of the new regulations.

Where is the North American ECA 

The area of the North American ECA includes waters adjacent to the Pacific coast, the Atlantic/Gulf coast and the eight main Hawaiian Islands. It extends up to 200 nautical miles from coasts of the United States, Canada and the French territories, except that it does not extend into marine areas subject to the sovereignty or jurisdiction of other States.


Carnival Cruise Lines Deployment Changes

The announced redeployments means reduced Atlantic Canada cruises and no ships homeporting out of Baltimore, Boston or Norfolk, Virginia.These are the first announced changes that site the North American ECA and associated fuel costs as the determining factor.

Carnival Cruise Lines and others, including Royal Caribbean, which has ships in the same ports, are working closely with the EPA to find alternative means to reduce the emissions. One possibility is scrubber technology as cited in the letter in the references below.

Ship / Effective Date Deployment Changes
Carnival Pride
December, 2014
Repositions from Baltimore to Tampa
Carnival Glory
November, 2013
 Sailed seasonally from Boston or Norfolk; Repositions to Miami

The cruise lines have held the line on passing fuel surcharges along to consumers. Hopefully they will be able to find an economical solution to protecting the environment.

April 2013 CLIA Position on North American ECA

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) made the following statement earlier this year:

"CLIA supports the goals and principles of the North American Emission Control Area (ECA). Our industry is committed to protecting coastal air quality not only because it is the responsible thing to do, but also because the very nature of our business depends on a healthy natural environment. We are proud of the environmental stewardship of our member lines and their proactive response to applicable international and Federal air emissions requirements wherever their ships operate."  

They, along with the IMO, have proposed the following:

"The industry supports a variety of flexible approaches that can be utilized to achieve equal or better health benefits, including averaging based on air quality, innovative exhaust scrubbers, using alternative energy sources such as shore power in port, and adjusting ship speeds."  [Full article]



Additional References:

EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality web site

Designation of Emission Control Area to Reduce Emissions from Ships in the U.S. Caribbean

Designation of North American Emission Control Area to Reduce Emissions from Ships (PDF)

Letter to IMO from EPA and U.S Coast Guard regarding equivalent methods to comply with the ECA fuel sulfur requirements (PDF)

We will continue to monitor this developing story.   It is unfortunate that Carnival Cruise Lines has made these changes, but hopefully they will be able to return to these homeports in the future.