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Cruise news recap

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past few weeks, you know that I’ve been busy checking out various cruise ships on both coasts. Now that I’m back, here’s a recap on what happened in the cruise industry while I was away.

  • Royal Caribbean’s been hit hard with bad breaks. Various passengers have gone missing from its ships and a Celebrity captain was fired for cruising under the influence. With the public increasingly voicing concerns over cruise ship safety, the company has created the new position of Vice President of Global Security and appointed Gary M. Bald to the post. Until last week, Bald was the executive assistant director for the FBI’s National Security Branch. After 29 years with the FBI, he should know a thing or two about keeping people safe.
  • Royal Caribbean also announced new plans for 2007. In January, the Majesty of the Seas will get a complete makeover. Cabins will get new bed frames, mattresses, and bedding; the spa and fitness center will be expanded; and the Johnny Rockets restaurant and Sorrento’s pizzeria seen on other ships will be added, while existing eateries will be refurbished. In addition, the Legend of the Seas is scheduled for two new itineraries, including a 12-night Italy and Croatia cruise and a 12-night eastern Mediterranean sailing.
  • The soon-to-debut Costa Concordia will feature interactive TV. Guests will be allowed to look up shore excursions, order room service, or view their onboard bills on their stateroom TVs. On one of the top decks, guests can also enjoy the first-ever onboard Grand Prix driving simulator. They can compete against themselves and others as they “drive” at speeds up to 200 mph.
  • When the Crown Princess debuts next week, Princess will also introduce new onboard spelling bees. An adult bee and a kids’ bee take place over two days, and the finals will be shown on the ship’s outdoor movie screen. Winners receive a dictionary signed by the captain—too bad the prize isn’t a free cruise.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s motto may very well be “out with the old and in with the new.” The Norwegian Wind will transfer to the Star Cruises fleet in April 2007, and the Norwegian Crown will be sold to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in August 2006 (though NCL will charter the vessel through November 2007). The new Norwegian Pearl enters the scene this coming November, and Norwegian recently disclosed that the ship will sail seven-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle in 2007. And in other news, the Norwegian Spirit will homeport in New Orleans beginning in November 2007 and will sail seven-night exotic western Caribbean itineraries.
  • The Carnival Glory is now traveling on a new itinerary. Featuring four ports in seven nights, the cruise departs from Port Canaveral and calls at Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize; and Nassau, Bahamas.

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