Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tropical Storm Jerry in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Jerry

Tropical Storm Jerry


Tropical Storm Jerry
500 PM AST THU OCT 03 2013
 
...JERRY BECOMES A REMNANT LOW...
...THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY...

WIND:
35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
SHIP IMPACT:
NONE

 
  
SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...31.8N 38.7W
ABOUT 790 MI...1270 KM WSW OF THE AZORES
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...ENE OR 60 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1010 MB...29.83 INCHES
 

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
None
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
1100 PM AST SAT SEP 28 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC...
 
1100 AM AST MON SEP 30 2013
 
...DEPRESSION BECOMES TENTH TROPICAL STORM OF THE ATLANTIC SEASON... 
 
1100 PM AST MON SEP 30 2013
 
...JERRY STRENGTHENS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC...
 
1100 PM AST WED OCT 02 2013
 
...JERRY WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...
 
 

Visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Tribute Site

We Will Never Forget

A trip to New York isn't complete without a stop at the 9/11 Memorial and Tribute Site at the World Trade Center.  The new buildings are still under construction, but they have certainly made lots of progress since our last visit.

Here is an image of the South Tower fountain.  A flag has been placed by a Girl Scout troop.   You'll also see roses placed by workers on the birthdays of the victim.

We uploaded several pictures to our Facebook Fan Page while we were at the memorial.   We've also created the start of our National Conference updates on our Shutterfly page.  

We will be sailing from Manhattan Cruise Terminal today to Bermuda on Norwegian Breakaway.   See you later once we get onboard the ship.





Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pre-Conference Stay in New York

Welcome to New York 
LaGuardia Airport

Greetings from New York City.   We followed our own advice and have arrived one day before our National Conference Cruise from New York's Manhattan Terminal to Bermuda on Norwegian Breakaway.

We landed at LGA around 2 PM and retrieved our checked  bag from baggage claim and called our hotel, Marriott's SpringHill Suites, requesting a shuttle pickup.

Upon going outside, we were amazed to see the passenger pickup lane filled with cars parked waiting for their passengers.   Coming from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport,  this scene was shocking since it would not be allowed.   After about 20 minutes, our shuttle van arrived and we were off to check in.

Next stop - Metro bus and train to site of the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.
We'll share more information about this visit in another post.  See our Facebook Page for more pictures.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cruises Skip Sitka Due to Weather

 
Alaska Cruise Season Ends Early
 
Weather has been plaguing cruise ship schedules the past few days with the latest impact occurring this week in Sitka.   Two ships, Holland America  Westerdam and Oosterdam were scheduled to make calls in Sitka, but those calls have been cancelled.  Calls by the same ships were cancelled last week as well.
 
The current weather forecast calls for rainy and windy conditions for the next few days, prompting the cancellations.  These would have been the final ships to call in the port town for the 2013 Alaska Cruise season which begins in May and runs through the end of September.
 
In other weather, we need to keep an eye on a potential storm that might develop on the east coast of the United States in the next few days.
 
While this is disappointing for the passengers who had hoped to get into the Alaskan port of Sitka, cruise lines always take security of passengers, crew, and ships into consideration when making changes like this.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cruise Like a Norwegian to Bermuda

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise to Bermuda 
CruiseOne Cruises Inc. National Conference 2014 


Cruise With Chris  -  Bermuda
We are getting ready for our National Conference, so we've just put a photo book together from our last trip to Bermuda on Norwegian Cruise Line. Bermuda is one of the most friendly islands to visit in all the world. There is so much to do as you can see in this photo album. While we put many of our images into this photo album, we didn't put them all, so be sure to visit our Share Site on Shutterfly.

Bermuda a Tropical Paradise


Start your own Shutterfly Photo Book today.


This is a great way for you to capture your cruise memories. When you get back from your vacation, just upload your images to Shutterfly. Put the photos in albums and share them on a share site. Select some of your favorite images, add some text describing the pictures, and submit your order. I put this one together in a few hours. The hard part is narrowing down the pictures that you want to include. Here's to great cruise vacations captured in print.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Costa Concorida Vertical

Concordia Upright Courtesy Parbuckling Project

19 Hour Project Completed
“The parbuckling operation has been successfully completed,” the Parbuckling Project’s official website said in an understated announcement at about 4 a.m. local time. “The wreck is now upright and resting safely on the specially built artificial sea bed, at a depth of approximately 30 meters.”


Shortly after 4 AM local time in Giglio, Italy,  there were shouts and claps for joy followed by the sound of a horn piercing the night's silence as the Costa Concordia reached full vertical.   Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, the ship was raised to this position and we were able to watch live on the internet.

There was joy amongst the workers of course, but there is also sorrow knowing that lives were lost on this very spot.  In fact, there are still 2 missing bodies that were never accounted for.   Prior to the parbuckling, there were hopes that those bodies would be found.  So far that has not been the case.

The entire parbuckling operation took 19 hours, longer than expected due to weather delays and stoppages dues to technical difficulties.   The final phase went quickly as gravity provided assistance.

COVERAGE FROM AROUND THE NET:

In this article, Yahoo has a collection of images that are emerging as daylight falls upon the now vertical Costa Concordia.   There are some amazing images, just as there were immediately following the tragedy 20 months ago.

They've Turned Over The Costa Concordia And The Pictures Are Nuts

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)

Our article from yesterday has links to the official Parbuckling Project site and other useful information.

Parbuckling of Costa Concordia Begins




Monday, September 16, 2013

Parbuckling of Costa Concordia Begins

Costa Concordia Parbuckling Begins
Dark Line on Costa Concordia Shows Movement  Source: Chicago Tribune
Watch Live

This image extracted from a live video of Costa Concordia's Parbuckling Procedure, which began today in Giglio, shows the slow process of righting the vessel.  The actual process started around 9 AM this morning after a storm delayed the start.

Related Links:

Attempt to right Costa Concordia cruise ship begins (USA Today)
Graphic on How Costa Concordia will be Raised




The Parbuckling Project: Concordia wreck removal project informative website

The overall project is 77% completed and is being carried out by a crew of 474 workers and 28 vessels and crafts on site. For a video and additional details of the salvage operation, see Costa Concordia Salvage Begins.
Updates from Parbuckling Website:       Multimedia Content

Please Note:   During the actual operations (daytime hours local Giglio time) you may experience problems accessing the Parbuckling Project's website.  It is best to view off-hours.
16 Sep 2013  4.20 P.M. The wreck side has been successfully dislodged from the reef by applying a maximum load of 6,000 tons (in line with forecast), thanks to the force exerted by the strand jacks operating the system of winches and steel chains.  The wreck has now rotated 10 degrees and will need to rotate at least as many before it has completed the first 20 degrees with reference to the initial position which is the approximate point at which the intake valves of the 11 sponsons attached to the port side of the hull reach sea level.

In the meantime the whole parbuckling system is being monitored constantly, with continuous checks – for example – of the condition of the strand jacks and chains, etc.

7.00 P.M.:The Titan Micoperi consortium announced that strandjack operations were temporarily suspended for an hour for maintenance work. It was in fact necessary to intervene with a dedicated team to avoid slack cables from interfering with the tensioned cables. The ‘Fast Response’ team is comprised of 8 people ready to intervene for checking purposes or in the event of anomalies. As foreseen by the operating and site procedures, access onboard was via a specifically positioned ladder, and safety checks were carried out. The team who intervened are all qualified to work on the wreck, are equipped with climbing gear and protective devices as necessary. Parbuckling operations have now resumed.

  Follow us on Facebook for Updates to this ongoing story.  We'll post links to images, videos, and news stories from various sources.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thanks for Visiting Us at ChamberFest



Streamwood ChamberFest
& Car Show
Beautiful day at SCC ChamberFest - come see us (7 photos)
 
What comes to mind when you put "Cruise" and "Cars" in the same sentence?

Normally you'd think about a "cruise night" when owners show off their cars and all the work that they have put into them.

Well, we took our "cruise" and vacation show on the road as well Saturday as we participated in the Streamwood Chamber of Commerce (SCC) ChamberFest and Car Show at Hoosier Grove Barn in Streamwood, IL.

It was our pleasure to be part of this annual event supporting the work of SCC, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting, enhancing and supporting the prosperity of its members while also supporting the future of our community through their Scholarship Programs.

There were several of the local classic car owners in attendance along with several racing cars.  One of the favorites was the D.A.R.E truck from the Streamwood Police Department.  Visitors could get a closeup look at the cars and then vote on their favorites.   Trophies were presented to the winners at the end of the event.
We couldn't have asked for a better day.  Temperatures were in the upper 60s with puffy clouds painting the blue sky.   Many families came right from their soccer games in the adjacent fields to visit our fair. The children loved the bouncy house which was sponsored by the SCC.   
Those that visited our booth, which was part of the vendor fair, had an opportunity to explore vacation options ranging from trips to Disney resorts to cruises of all lengths on the seven seas. It is possible to tie in your love of cars into your vacation.  Disneyland has a "Cars" attraction based on the animated film.   You could sail away to Monaco and see the track which runs through town just to name a couple options.

As past president and member of the board of directors, I was kept busy throughout the event, but did manage to speak with most of the people that stopped by our booth.  Once again Alaska seems to be dominating the interest for cruises while the Mediterranean leads the pack for land travel.  Of course, Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line is a favorite for families.

We encourage you to check out our many resources to help you explore vacations options.  Better yet, give us a call, tell us what you like to do, and let us work our magic finding you the perfect vacation.

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If you haven’t signed up for our eSavers Newsletter yet, be sure to do so. This is just one of our communication vehicles to keep you informed about industry news and special offers for our loyal followers.


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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tropical Storm Manuel Formed in East Pacific

Interactive Map
THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON THIS SYSTEM UNLESS REGENERATION OCCURS.

Hurricane MANUEL

Hurricane MANUEL

500 AM PDT THU SEP 19 2013

...MANUEL MEANDERING NEAR THE COAST OF MEXICO...


WIND:
NEAR 75 MPH...120 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* LA CRUZ TO TOPOLOBAMPO

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF TOPOLOBAMPO TO HUATABAMPITO
SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED
     
Storm Archive              Graphics Archive
 
A new tropical depression, TD 13-E formed Friday and is expected to become Tropical Storm Manuel.  Heavy rainfall is predicted for Mexico as a result of this tropical weather system.  Manuel degenerated on the 16th and then regenerated 36 hours later and later grew to a Hurricane before proceeding ashore in Mexico.

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

SUMMARY OF 500 AM PDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...24.8N 108.1W
ABOUT 15 MI...25 KM NW OF ALTATA MEXICO
ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM SE OF LOS MOCHIS MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...STATIONARY
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...987 MB...29.15 INCHES
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...HURRICANE CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE
COAST WITHIN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA FOR THE NEXT FEW HOURS.
TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE IN THE NORTHERN PORTION OF
SINALOA AND EXTREME SOUTHERN SONORA WITHIN THE TROPICAL STORM WATCH
AREA.

RAINFALL...MANUEL IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 8 TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN OVER
THE MEXICAN STATE OF SINALOA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20
INCHES POSSIBLE. THESE RAINS COULD PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH
FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES. MANUEL IS ALSO EXPECTED TO PRODUCE AN
ADDITIONAL 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAIN OVER THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF THE
BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA AND THE STATE OF NAYARIT.

STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS
MUCH AS 2 TO 4 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
COAST NEAR AND TO THE SOUTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.
NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND
DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

 
 Historical Data:

800 AM PDT FRI SEP 13 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS SOUTH OF MEXICO...
...VERY HEAVY RAINS EXPECTED TO BE THE PRIMARY THREAT...
 
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ACAPULCO TO LAZARO CARDENAS
 
200 PM PDT FRI SEP 13 2013
 
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING EXTENDED WESTWARD... 

200 PM PDT SAT SEP 14 2013
 
...LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODING POSSIBLE WITH MANUEL...
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ZIHANTANEJO TO MANZANILLO

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* WEST OF MANZANILLO TO CABO CORRIENTES 
 
200 AM PDT MON SEP 16 2013
 
...MANUEL DISSIPATES OVER WEST-CENTRAL MEXICO...
...HEAVY RAINS TO CONTINUE ALONG THE SOUTHWESTERN COAST OF MEXICO... 
 
200 PM PDT TUE SEP 17 2013
 
...MANUEL REGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...
...TROPICAL STORM WATCHES ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF MEXICO...
 
800 PM PDT TUE SEP 17 2013
 
...MANUEL GRADUALLY GETTING BETTER ORGANIZED...
...EXPECTED TO BECOME A TROPICAL STORM ON WEDNESDAY...
 
800 AM PDT WED SEP 18 2013
 
...MANUEL BECOMES A TROPICAL STORM AGAIN...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF MEXICO...
 
500 PM PDT WED SEP 18 2013
 
...MANUEL BECOMES A HURRICANE...
...NORTHERN EYEWALL ALREADY NEAR THE COAST OF MEXICO... 

Hurricane Ingrid in Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Ingrid
Interactive Map

Hurricane INGRID

(Sep 12) Tropical Depression Ten formed in the Gulf of Mexico prompting warnings for heavy rain and life threatening conditions in Eastern Mexico.

(Sep 14) The storm continued to strengthen with Tropical Storm Ingrid becoming the second hurricane of the Atlantic season Saturday afternoon.

Tropical Storm INGRID
700 AM CDT MON SEP 16 2013

...INGRID WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM 
AS IT MAKES LANDFALL 
NEAR LA PESCA...
...HEAVY RAINS SPREADING INLAND... 


WIND:
DECREASED TO NEAR 65 MPH...100
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CABO ROJO NORTHWARD TO RIO SAN FERNANDO
SHIP IMPACT: NONE

This is the second storm of the Atlantic season to form in the Gulf of Mexico, and once again a powerful one, becoming the second Hurricane as well.   The same part of Mexico that is just recovering from Humberto is once again under heavy rainfall and winds.

 
  
SUMMARY OF 700 AM CDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...23.8N 97.8W
ABOUT 0 MI...0 KM N OF LA PESCA MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...991 MB...29.26 INCHES
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 65 MPH...100
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  ADDITIONAL WEAKENING IS FORECAST AS
INGRID MOVES INLAND TODAY.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES...165
KM...MAINLY NORTHEAST OF THE CENTER. 
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...INGRID IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE 10 TO 15 INCHES OF RAIN
OVER A LARGE PART OF EASTERN MEXICO...WITH ISOLATED AMOUNTS OF 25
INCHES POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY IN AREAS OF MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. THESE
RAINS ARE LIKELY TO RESULT IN LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD
SLIDES.

WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE SPREADING OVER THE COAST WITHIN
THE WARNING AREA. 

STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS
MUCH AS 2 TO 4 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
COAST NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER OF INGRID MAKES
LANDFALL.  NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE
AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
400 PM CDT THU SEP 12 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS IN THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO...
...EXTREME RAINFALL EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF EASTERN MEXICO...
 
1000 AM CDT FRI SEP 13 2013
 
...THE NINTH TROPICAL STORM OF THE SEASON FORMS IN THE GULF OF
MEXICO...
 
100 PM CDT SAT SEP 14 2013
 
...INGRID EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE THIS AFTERNOON...
 
400 PM CDT SAT SEP 14 2013
 
...INGRID BECOMES THE SECOND HURRICANE OF THE 2013 SEASON...
  
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ADJUSTED THE PREVIOUS WATCHES AND
WARNINGS FOR THE GULF COAST. A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED
FROM CABO ROJO TO LA PESCA. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN
ISSUED FROM NORTH OF LA PESCA TO BAHIA ALGODONES...AND FROM SOUTH
OF CABO ROJO TO TUXPAN. THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING FROM
COATZACOALCOS TO SOUTH OF TUXPAN HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
 
700 AM CDT MON SEP 16 2013

...INGRID WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM AS IT MAKES LANDFALL 
NEAR LA PESCA...
...HEAVY RAINS SPREADING INLAND... 
 
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS DISCONTINUED THE HURRICANE WARNING 
AND HURRICANE WATCH.  THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING SOUTH OF CABO ROJO
HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. 
 
100 PM CDT MON SEP 16 2013
 
...INGRID MOVING INLAND OVER MEXICO WITH HEAVY RAINFALL... 
 
400 PM CDT MON SEP 16 2013
 
...INGRID WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...
...HEAVY RAIN THREAT CONTINUES...
 
1000 PM CDT MON SEP 16 2013
 
...SLOW-MOVING INGRID PRODUCING TORRENTIAL RAINS AND FLOODS 
OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO...
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Meet Us at ChamberFest 2013

Visit Our Booth
Streamwood ChamberFest 2013


Attention car enthusiasts - don't miss the 2013 Streamwood ChamberFest & Car Show this Saturday from 10 AM - 2 PM. There will be several racing cars present as well as some of the local favorites from our monthly shows that are held at The Loop Bar & Grill in Streamwood.

Would you like to see some of the fastest cars in the world compete?

We'll have information at our booth about the 2014 Grand Prix voyages on Azamara Club Cruises.

Ask about Grand Prix Voyages

Monaco Grand Prix. Join us for the renowned Monaco Grand Prix, one of the world's most challenging Formula One races through the narrow streets of Monte-Carlo. The thrill of screaming engines and burning tires is matched by glamorous crowds and yachts, buzzing helicopters, and celebrities who know a good party when they see one.

You can select from a 4 Night or 8 Night voyage, both of which will be in Monaco on race day.  Whether you purchase Grand Prix tickets and watch the race, visit the Grand Casino, or other nearby attractions, your day in Monaco will certainly be one of the highlights of your cruise vacation.

Fast Cars Not Your Thing
How About Bumper Cars

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas which is currently under construction will feature a multi-purpose entertainment complex which will include bumper cars.

In addition to bumper cars, the ship will include many of the features from the Oasis-class along with some new innovations such as  a parachuting simulator, virtual balconies and many more.  Studio staterooms will allow solo travelers to enjoy their space, inside and out, with 12 of the 28 cabins including balconies.

 Related Blog Articles:

Quantum Changes for Cruisers
Prepare to be WOWED – The Quantum Class
Royal Caribbean Has a New Star
Two Sisters Under Construction




Visit our Quantum of the Seas Microsite

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patriot Day 2013


President Proclaims Patriot Day, Day of Remembrance Patriot Day - 9/11 
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day,” and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized “National Day of Service and Remembrance”. President Obama officially proclaimed September 11, 2013, as Patriot Day.

Patriot DayIn his remarks, the President said "Twelve years ago this month, nearly three thousand innocent men, women, and children lost their lives in attacks meant to terrorize our Nation. They had been going about their day, harming no one, when sudden violence struck. We will never undo the pain and injustice borne that terrible morning, nor will we ever forget those we lost."

He continued, "On September 11, 2001, amid shattered glass, twisted steel, and clouds of dust, the spirit of America shone through. We remember the sacrifice of strangers and first responders who rushed into darkness to carry others from danger. We remember the unbreakable bonds of unity we felt in the long days that followed -- how we held each other, how we came to our neighbors' aid, how we prayed for one another. We recall how Americans of every station joined together to support the survivors in their hour of need and to heal our Nation in the years that followed.”


View Gallery (Click image for Yahoo album)

Remembering 9/11/2001

Each year we recall where we were when learning about the terrorist attacks.   We were on the inaugural voyage of Norwegian Sun, thousands of miles from home in Paris, France.   Our tour bus was filled with our fellow passengers, the majority of whom lived in New York.  The transatlantic cruise, we were on, was originally scheduled to conclude in New York but ended in Boston instead.

What was to have been a celebration of our 25th Anniversary, quickly became a very unique experience as we observed the hospitality and caring from so many people across the globe as our journey home continued.

See our article from 2011, FDNY May We Never Forget, on the 10th anniversary, as we recalled our journey back to New York to visit the site of the World Trade Center attacks.  Should your cruise vacation plans include New York, we recommend spending some time at the WTC Memorial and other historic sites in the city.

TS Humberto Expected to Become First Atlantic Hurricane

Tropical Storm HUMBERTO
Interactive Map

  HUMBERTO

(Sep 16) Humberto becomes a tropical storm again and it is forecast to strengthen again as it turns noth-northwest.

(Sep 10) Humberto is expected to strengthen later today and become a Hurricane.  Meanwhile, TS Gabrielle has regenerated and has its sights on Bermuda where Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect.  Tropical Storm Gabrielle Forms in Atlantic

Tropical Depression HUMBERTO
500 AM AST THU SEP 19 2013

...HUMBERTO CLOSE TO BECOMING POST-TROPICAL...


WIND:
NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
SHIP IMPACT: NONE

As is typical for this time of year, a disturbance near the Cape Verde islands is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm.   We will monitor this storms as it heads across the Atlantic.

 
  
SUMMARY OF 500 AM AST...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...33.0N 44.3W
ABOUT 1030 MI...1660 KM WSW OF THE AZORES
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 8 MPH...13 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1009 MB...29.80 INCHES
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT DAY OR
TWO.  HOWEVER...HUMBERTO COULD BECOME POST-TROPICAL AT ANY TIME...
AND IT IS FORECAST TO BE ABSORBED BY A FRONT BY FRIDAY NIGHT.
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
none
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
500 PM AST SUN SEP 08 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OVER THE FAR EASTERN ATLANTIC...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR THE SOUTHERN CAPE VERDE
ISLANDS...

500 AM AST MON SEP 09 2013
 
...DEPRESSION STRENGTHENS INTO TROPICAL STORM HUMBERTO SOUTH OF THE
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS...
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* THE SOUTHERN CAPE VERDE ISLANDS OF MAIO...SANTIAGO...FOGO...AND
BRAVA
 
1100 PM AST MON SEP 09 2013
 
...HUMBERTO STILL STRENGTHENING... 
 
500 PM AST MON SEP 09 2013
 
...HUMBERTO CONTINUES TO STRENGTHEN...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS DISCONTINUED...
  
500 AM AST TUE SEP 10 2013
 
...HUMBERTO ON A STRENGTHENING TREND...
...FORECAST TO BECOME A HURRICANE LATER TODAY...
 
500 PM AST TUE SEP 10 2013

...HUMBERTO ALMOST A HURRICANE... 
 
500 AM AST WED SEP 11 2013
 
...HUMBERTO BECOMES THE FIRST HURRICANE OF THE SEASON OVER THE FAR
EASTERN ATLANTIC...
 
500 AM AST THU SEP 12 2013
 
...HUMBERTO MAINTAINING ITS STRENGTH WHILE CONTINUING NORTHWARD... 
 
500 AM AST FRI SEP 13 2013
 
...HUMBERTO LOSING STRENGTH...
...EXPECTED TO WEAKEN TO A TROPICAL STORM LATER TODAY... 
 
 
1100 PM AST FRI SEP 13 2013
 
...HUMBERTO CONTINUES TO WEAKEN AS IT MOVES WESTWARD...
...EXPECTED TO BECOME A REMNANT LOW ON SATURDAY... 
 
1100 AM AST SAT SEP 14 2013
 
...HUMBERTO BECOMES A POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE...
...EXPECTED TO REGENERATE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS...
  
 
1100 AM AST MON SEP 16 2013

...HUMBERTO BECOMES A TROPICAL STORM AGAIN...
...FORECAST TO SLOWLY STRENGTHEN WHILE TURNING
NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD... 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Viking River Increases Longship Order

ADDING 14 SHIPS IN 2014

Viking Cruises announced that they have increased their Viking Longship order from 12 to 14 vessels for delivery in 2014.  The new ships will sail the line's most popular European itineraries.  The increased order reflects the popularity of river cruising as the fastest growing-segment of the travel industry and the leadership position of Viking, the world’s leading river cruise line.

With the addition of these new Longships,Viking River Cruises will have increased its fleet by 30 ships since 2011.  This is the most rapid expansion the industry has seen.  If one were to add all the ships of their competitors together, they would still rank #1.
“We are working hard to match supply with demand, and with these new builds, we have the best designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers – more than double all our competitors combined,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “More than ever, travelers want experiences that bring them closer to the destination, which is why we continue to design ships and itineraries with destinations and enrichment as the focus.”
For those that are unfamiliar with river cruising, it brings an entirely new dimension to the cruise experience.  Due to the size of the vessels, it is possible for them to dock right in the heart of the destination's town.  There is no need for an elaborate pier infrastructure.  The ship could even tie up to a tree, as they due in some of the remote parts of the globe.

Walk off the ship and right into the center of action. In most cases, there is no need for a long bus ride to begin seeing the sites.   Due to the size of the ships, there are much fewer guests onboard as well, making for a more intimate experience as you get to know your fellow passengers during the cruise.

Since the number of cabins is limited on the ships, the only way for Viking River to satisfy demand is by adding additional ships.  If you'd like to try this method of cruising, you need to plan early.

Click on image to Learn More about Viking River Cruises


Watch videos about the Longships:

Parbuckling of Costa Concordia Approved

Press release by Italian Civil Protection

According to the press release (6 Sep 2013), "The operation to right the ship Costa Concordia (known as “parbuckling”) has been given the go-ahead for this month: this was the outcome of a meeting convened in Rome today at the headquarters of the Civil Protection Department, by the Emergency Commissioner Franco Gabrielli, and attended by representatives from the Advisory Committee, the Observatory, the Micoperi-Titan Consortium and the cruise line Costa Crociere."   


Before the actual work takes place, authorities will need to review test certificates, inspect the structures, and complete preliminary activities.  No date for the actual parbuckling was given in the press release.

The overall project is 77% completed and is being carried out by a crew of 474 workers and 28 vessels and crafts on site. For a video and additional details of the salvage operation, see Costa Concordia Salvage Begins.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tropical Depression Eight in Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Depression Eight

Tropical Depression EIGHT

 
Tropical Depression EIGHT
400 AM CDT SAT SEP 07 2013
 
...DEPRESSION WEAKENS OVER THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF MEXICO...
WIND:
NEAR 30 MPH...45 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT
SHIP IMPACT: NONE

The low pressure area near Tampico Mexico is expected to move inland before becoming a tropical cyclone, but it is likely to bring 3 to 5 inches of rainfall and as much as 8 inches in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas during the next few days.   Heavy winds, near tropical storm strength, are also expected which means that the area should be prepared to take appropriate actions just as they would if the tropical storm had already formed.

 
  
SUMMARY OF 400 AM CDT...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...21.4N 99.3W
ABOUT 105 MI...170 KM WSW OF TAMPICO MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...30 MPH...45 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WSW OR 250 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1009 MB...29.80 INCHES
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...HEAVY RAINS WILL LIKELY CONTINUE OVER THE MEXICAN STATES
OF VERACRUZ...EASTERN SAN LUIS POTOSI AND TAMAULIPAS. THESE RAINS
COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 
130 PM CDT FRI SEP 06 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS ALONG THE COAST OF MEXICO NEAR
TAMPICO...
...CENTER MAKING LANDFALL AT THIS TIME...
 
WIND...WIND GUSTS TO TROPICAL STORM FORCE ARE POSSIBLE IN A FEW
SQUALLS OVER PORTIONS OF THE MEXICAN STATES OF VERACRUZ AND
TAMAULIPAS TODAY AND TONIGHT.
 
RAINFALL...THE DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO CAUSE TOTAL RAINFALL OF 3
TO 5 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES...IN THE
MEXICAN STATES OF VERACRUZ AND TAMAULIPAS.  THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE
LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES. 

400 PM CDT FRI SEP 06 2013
 
...CENTER OF THE DEPRESSION MOVING INLAND OVER EASTERN MEXICO...
 
 

Special Tropical Outlook Published for Atlantic





Heavy Rainfall for Parts of Mexico 

1130 AM EDT FRI SEP 6 2013 
FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO... 
SPECIAL OUTLOOK ISSUED TO PROVIDE UPDATE 
ON THE SYSTEM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. 

GULF OF MEXICO

We have entered into the most active time of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the image above reflects several potential storms that are being tracked today by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The yellow color indicates that none of the storms have a high risk of developing into tropical cyclones in the next 48 hours, but that doesn't mean that there won't be associated weather (eg. heavy rains) in the area of the developing storms.

In particular,  the low pressure area near Tampico Mexico is expected to move inland before becoming a tropical cyclone, but it is likely to bring 3 to 5 inches of rainfall and as much as 8 inches in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas during the next few days.   Heavy winds, near tropical storm strength, are also expected which means that the area should be prepared to take appropriate actions just as they would if the tropical storm had already formed.

See: Tropical Depression Eight in Gulf of Mexico

REMNANTS of GABRIELLE

Unfavorable conditions are preventing the further development of the remnants from Tropical Storm Gabrielle, but that doesn't mean that development is completely out of the question.  Once the storm moves further northwestward, over open Atlantic waters, it could redevelop as it heads towards Bermuda.

OTHER DEVELOPMENT

This time of year, storms near Cape Verde Islands are pretty common and often those storms are the ones that make landfall in the U.S. on the east coast.   There is a low pressure system in the area, but there isn't an immediate risk of the storm becoming a tropical cyclone.

Click on the link above for the complete text of the Special Bulletin.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tropical Depression 12-E Expected to Become TS Lorena Today


Tropical Storm LORENA

Tropical Depression LORENA

800 AM PDT SAT SEP 07 2013

...LORENA CONTINUES MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD....

WIND:
 NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
SHIP IMPACT:
 NO CRUISE SHIPS IMPACTED
     
Storm Archive       Graphics Archive
 
A new tropical depression, TD 12-E formed this morning and is expected to become Tropical Storm Lorena  It is currently southwest of Mexico.  The storm is expected to begin weakening on Sunday.

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

SUMMARY OF 800 AM PDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...23.8N 111.8W
ABOUT 75 MI...120 KM SSE OF CABO SAN LAZARO MEXICO
ABOUT 135 MI...220 KM WNW OF CABO SAN LUCAS MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 6 MPH...9 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1007 MB...29.74 INCHES
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
NONE
 
 Historical Data:

200 AM PDT THU SEP 05 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OFF THE SOUTHWEST COAST OF MEXICO.... 
 
800 AM PDT THU SEP 05 2013
 
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH ISSUED FOR SOUTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA... 
 
200 PM PDT THU SEP 05 2013
 
...TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS COULD BE ISSUED FOR LORENA LATER
TONIGHT... 
 
1100 PM PDT FRI SEP 06 2013
 
...LORENA WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION NEAR THE SOUTHERN BAJA
CALIFORNIA PENINSULA...
 
THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS DISCONTINUED ALL TROPICAL STORM WATCHES
AND WARNINGS. 

Tropical Storm Gabrielle Forms in Atlantic


Tropical Storm GABRIELLE
Interactive Map of Gabrielle

Tropical Storm GABRIELLE

(Sep 11) TS Gabrielle is now west of Bermuda and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued.  The storm is continuing its trek across the Atlantic with the next stop Canada.  Tropical Storm warnings will be posted in a few days for Nova Scotia and other ports in that region.

(Sep 10) Winds, showers, heavy at times, and thunderstorm potential will continue to increase as TS Gabrielle makes its final approach to Bermuda. Tropical storm force winds are expected this evening and will remain into early Wednesday afternoon. Tropical moisture will linger through the end of the week with a few showers and mainly moderate winds. Radar imagery is now available. SOURCE: Bermuda Weather Service


Tropical Storm GABRIELLE
800 AM AST WED SEP 11 2013

...GABRIELLE MEANDERING JUST WEST OF BERMUDA...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING DISCONTINUED...

WIND:
NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
THE BERMUDA WEATHER SERVICE HAS DISCONTINUED 
THE TROPICAL STORM
WARNING FOR BERMUDA. 
SHIP IMPACT: (Sep 10) Norwegian Dawn - Overnight in Bermuda,
leave by mid-morning Wednesday
Norwegian Breakaway - Arriving late on Wednesday
(around noon)

A disturbance in the East Caribbean Sea has taken the traditional circular shape of a tropical cyclone and has become Tropical Storm Garbrielle.  It is currently producing heavy rains in Puerto Rico and will threaten the Dominican Republic as well.   The storm is forecast to take a north / northwest turn later in the week, heading towards Bermuda.  This storm has the potential for impacting cruise schedules.  We will monitor this storm closely.

 
  
SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...31.9N 64.9W
ABOUT 30 MI...45 KM SSW OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES
 
ON THE FORECAST TRACK...GABRIELLE IS EXPECTED TO PASS
OVER OR NEAR BERMUDA IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM FORCE WIND GUSTS COULD CONTINUE ON BERMUDA FOR
THE NEXT FEW HOURS...ESPECIALLY AT ELEVATED LOCATIONS. 

RAINFALL...GABRIELLE IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL
AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES OVER BERMUDA.

STORM SURGE...ROUGH SURF CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT BERMUDA
TODAY.
 
HISTORICAL DATA:
 

500 PM AST WED SEP 04 2013
 
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS SOUTH OF PUERTO RICO...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED...
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* PUERTO RICO
* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FROM CABO ENGANO TO CABO FRANCES VIEJO
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FROM SANTO DOMINGO TO CABO ENGANO 


1100 PM AST WED SEP 04 2013
 
...DEPRESSION BECOMES TROPICAL STORM GABRIELLE...
...HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF PUERTO RICO AND THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.. 
 
800 AM AST THU SEP 05 2013
 
...DISORGANIZED GABRIELLE STILL BRINGING HEAVY RAINS TO PUERTO RICO
AND ADJACENT ISLANDS... 
 
1100 PM AST THU SEP 05 2013
 
...GABRIELLE DISSIPATES...
...HEAVY RAIN THREAT CONTINUES OVER PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN
ISLANDS... 
 
*** No Warnings Issued on SEP 06 - SEP 09 *** 

500 AM AST TUE SEP 10 2013
 
...GABRIELLE REGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL STORM SOUTH OF BERMUDA...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR BERMUDA...
 
500 PM AST TUE SEP 10 2013
 
...WIND INCREASING ON BERMUDA AS STRENGTHENING GABRIELLE
APPROACHES...
  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Sea is Calling and Barbie Answered



 Making Holiday Dreams
Come True 
for Little Girls

Just in time for the Holidays  
Save 30% Off the Experience
Click to download flyer

Since March 1959, BarbieTM dolls have been an integral part of little girls' dreams and an important part of the fashion doll market.  As the holidays approach, little girls make up their wish lists of dolls and accessories for their toy chests. 

Taking things one step further, Royal Caribbean International has entered into a partnership with American toy-company Mattel, Inc. to bring the fashion dolls to sea in an exclusive add-on package.

The BarbieTM Premium Experience, caters to girls age 4 to 11, but is open to anyone that loves Barbie.  Guests set sail on a Barbie dream cruise complete with fun, fashion and runway moments. Participants make lifelong memories and take to the waves in true Barbie style!


The experience starts in your stateroom with a decorated vanity area and special Barbie package including a BarbieTM doll, three fashion accessories, blanket, pillowcase and toiletries. There are events throughout the cruise designed exclusively for children in the program that include a tea party, dance class, fashion design experience and fashion show.

The program fee for the BarbieTM Premium Experience is $349 per child. For 3-4 night Bahamas sailings guests will receive a limited experience (no tea party or fashion designer workshop and smaller in-stateroom package) for $75. Once booked there are no additional charges for the activities included in the Premium Experience. 

Did you play with Barbie, Ken, and their playmates when you were growing up?   Would you daughters like to do so as well?   What was your favorite doll or accessory?  Don't you wish you could be a kid again (I know that I would.)?   Bring Barbie and her friends to life on one of Royal Caribbean's ships and watch the sparkle in the little girl's eyes.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Syria Crisis Impacts Cruise Itineraries

Photo courtesy Holland America Blog
Holland America Noordam
Skips Israel Ports

The crisis in Syria has had its first impact on cruise line itineraries as Holland America Line skipped calls in Haifa and Jerusalem this week citing “the uncertainties of possible military action against Syria and the potential of resulting Syrian attacks on Israel.” as reason for the itinerary changes.

The line replaced these calls with visits to Bodrum and Antalya, Turkey, and Nafplion, Greece.

We previously reported, in Must be Summer - Egypt Calls Canceled, that Noordam had replaced port calls in Port Said & Alexandria with these ports in Israel due to the unrest in Egypt.

Unrest in the Region

As tensions rise in the region, cruise lines and governments will be closely monitoring developments and making adjustments and recommendations as warranted.   As always, regardless of where you are traveling, citizens of the United States and all countries, should be vigilant of their surroundings while abroad.

Here are some resources to help you stay up to date on developments:

POPE FRANCIS CALLS FOR WORLDWIDE DAY OF PRAYER AND FASTING FOR PEACE IN SYRIA, IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IN THE WORLD. ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th
 
The Pope is calling on people of all faiths to unite in prayer this coming weekend for peace in Syria, Middle East, and the world.
 


We will continue to monitor this developing story as unrest continues to impact the travel industry.