Cruise News Archive - April 2012

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4-27-12 MSC Divina, Line's Newest Ship to Sail from Miami MSC Cruises will be bringing its newest ship, MSC Divina, to its newest departure port -- PortMiami -- beginning in the fall of 2013.

When MSC Cruises begins its inaugural season homeporting at PortMiami, MSC Divina, which becomes the twelfth ship in the MSC Cruises fleet in May 2012, will sail a series of itineraries featuring Caribbean destinations.

Named in honor of MSC Cruises' "godmother," Italian film icon Sophia Loren, MSC Divina features the exclusive MSC Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship concept found on the line's two other Fantasia-class ships, MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida.

"We're very excited to kick off our new relationship with PortMiami with the newest of our Fantasia-class flagships," said Richard E. Sasso, President and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

"In addition to enjoying the sophisticated design, international entertainment, Mediterranean cuisine, exotic MSC Aurea Spa and international experience that are the hallmarks of MSC Cruises, guests will now have the opportunity to depart from Miami to enjoy the MSC Yacht Club private haven of luxury suites that previously had only been available on European sailings," Sasso said.

Port Director Bill Johnson said the MSC Divina is a great addition to the Port's fleet. "What a fantastic way to introduce a new brand to our Port than with its newest vessel."

With 1,751 staterooms hosting 3,502 guests on the 139,400-ton ship, MSC Divina will be the largest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet.

Like her sister ships, MSC Divina will feature the exclusive MSC Yacht Club. With 69 suites in this "ship-within-a-ship," guests indulge in comfort and convenience, from their own personal butler to complimentary wines and spirits available any time of the day in the MSC Yacht Club's exclusive lounges and pool area. This oasis of tranquility includes several private venues, including Le Muse panoramic restaurant, Top Sail Lounge, pool and relaxation area as well as private access to MSC Aurea Spa.

All MSC Divina guests have access to three restaurants and a Tex-Mex alternative dining restaurant, Aqua Park (with 150 fountains and water jets, whirlpools and pool bar), MSC Aurea Spa with Balinese-inspired treatments, children's and teen areas, interactive 4-D Cinema, virtual Formula 1 auto racing, acclaimed international entertainment in the 1,603-seat Pantheon Theater and more.

Among the new features are The Garden infinity pool and Zen area in the aft, with spectacular views of the ship's wake, and cutting-edge technical advancements that assure less environmental impact.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at , call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional.

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4-27-12 Norwegian Breakaway Reaches New Heights with Three-Story Sports Complex Top Decks to Feature First Five-Slide Aqua Park, Kids' Aqua Park, Largest Ropes Course at Sea and New Mini-Golf

Norwegian Breakaway will take recreation and outdoor fun to new heights when it launches in April 2013. The ship's top decks will feature the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides, the first ever at sea, and a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more. The line also announced that the ship will feature Nickelodeon experiences for the whole family and will include a Nickelodeon themed Kids' Aqua Park. "Norwegian Breakaway's outdoor decks will offer spectacular fun and thrills for the entire family," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "As a sports enthusiast, I am so excited about the extraordinary recreation and the over-the-top ways to play on this incredible new ship. From the amazing Aqua Park to the thrilling ropes course with its 'plank' feature, Norwegian Breakaway has been designed to ensure that our guests will have the time of their lives." The Aqua Park is Norwegian's biggest yet and features five multi-story water slides. Norwegian Breakaway is the first cruise ship to feature the Free Fall � two side-by-side slides where guests will stand up and have the floor drop from underneath, propelling them into a thrilling loop. Offering another first with a twist are two additional side-by-side twister slides � called The Whip -- that deliver an unforgettable adrenaline rush as they plunge guests on a spiral race to the finish line. For those who prefer a more relaxing ride, there is a family-friendly open-flume body slide. The Aqua Park also features a Kids' Aqua Park, two swimming pools, four hot tubs and the Breezeway Bar & Grill, a semi-open air eatery. In the Kids' Aqua Park, children can cool off with colorful, whimsical and larger than life Nickelodeon characters from Bikini Bottom, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Squidward and more. The tropical area will include a kid-sized pool and slide, along with multiple water features that squirt and shower guests with delight. The three-story sports complex will be Norwegian's largest and feature the line's first ever ropes course, the largest one at sea. The ropes course with its multi-level structure will challenge guests to more than 40 different elements, including a zip track. For a thrill like no other, guests will confront The Plank, a platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship. Those who choose to test their courage on The Plank will be rewarded by having their photo taken after conquering this heart-pounding, yet breathtaking, feat. Kids will be challenged as well with a special ropes course just for them. In another first for the line, the nine-hole ocean-themed miniature golf course is located beneath the ropes course, offering family fun with friendly competition. A rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide, round out the activities. Nickelodeon Experiences Norwegian Breakaway will be the fourth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon experiences, including the all-new Pajama Jam Character Breakfast, Dora's Dance Party, where kids will have the chance to sing and dance to their favorite songs with Dora the Explorer and Team Nick; Nickelodeon Character Meet and Greets; Story Time with Dora; and Nickelodeon Arts and Crafts. Nickelodeon also hits the main stage with entertainment everyone can enjoy. In addition, Nickelodeon's Splash Mobs add an element of surprise with spontaneous, impromptu games that are exciting for the whole family with pies, slime and other surprises. Nickelodeon characters and themed activities will also be featured in Splash Academy, the ship's two-story youth area offering merriment for kids ages three to 12. Adult Only Areas Norwegian Breakaway will also feature adult-only outdoor enclaves. Spice H2O, located at the back of the ship on deck 16, is an adult-only escape with contemporary Asian influences offering day-time relaxation and night-time exhilaration. A bevy of sun loungers surround a huge video screen, complete with two hot tubs and a soothing dual waterfall feature, perfect for cooling off from the sun. At night, guests can dance under the stars or chill at the bar with accompanying lounge area, featuring comfortable seating while admiring the ocean views. On deck 17, guests ages 18 and over will have the opportunity to enjoy another private retreat – Vibe Beach Club – by purchasing an access pass. Complete with ocean views, an oversized hot tub, luxurious chaise loungers and a relaxing water feature, Vibe Beach Club will be the ideal spot for adults to relax and unwind in a serene, comfortable setting while soaking up the sun. A full-service bar, water spritzers and chilled towels complete the exclusive experience. Casual Dining When hunger strikes, while enjoying all the outdoor activities, guests can venture to the Garden Caf�, on deck 15, which will offer an abundant assortment of delicious menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is Norwegian's signature action station casual restaurant where chefs cook fresh, prepared-to-order food as guests watch, featuring seafood, pizza, fruit, soups, pasta, ethnic specialties, burgers and desserts; offering extensive and varied selections. Currently under construction at Meyer Werft, 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. For more information on the incredible features and accommodations on Norwegian Breakaway, visit To book a cruise on Norwegian Breakaway, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit Comment on today's announcement on our Facebook page: Limited Time Family Offer For families that are looking to cruise in 2012 and enjoy the line's existing fleet's water slides and recreational activities, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering the "Little Norwegian's Explore For Free" promotion for a limited time. New 2012 cruise reservations made now through May 13, 2012 will receive complimentary Norwegian-sponsored shore excursions* for children ages 3 to 12 and half off shore excursions for and teens (13 to 17 years old) when in the same stateroom with a paying adult on the same excursion. This applies to all 2012 sailings fleet-wide for all ports of call. Families can whale watch in Alaska; explore ancient cities in Europe; or have fun in the sun on a snorkel excursion in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda or Hawai'i. *Motorized flight tours, golf, Orlando theme parks and Atlantis in the Bahamas excluded.

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4-26-12 Great American Steamboat Company's American Queen Arrives in Homeport of Memphis

The Great American Steamboat Company's American Queen arrived in its homeport of Memphis today after her first voyage up the Mississippi River since 2008. The U.S.-flagged steamboat was welcomed to the revitalized Beale Street Landing marking the return of overnight cruises on the great rivers of America's heartland and the continuation of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company legacy.

Originally built in 1995 by the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, the American Queen is the largest and most opulent steamboat ever built accommodating 436-guests. Steeped in history, nostalgia and tradition, the steamboat offers an unrivaled All-American hospitality experience from its elegant staterooms to its palatial public spaces and celebrated Southern cuisine of famed Chef Regina Charboneau, the line's Culinary Director.

"Today is a dream come true as we revive the fabled steamboat experience, introducing river communities to thousands of travelers, especially our hometown of Memphis," shared Great American Steamboat Company President Jeff Krida. "The smiling faces greeting us here in the 'Capital of Southern hospitality' is humbling and it is no surprise most of our crew calls Memphis home."

As the American Queen approached downtown Memphis, it was met by the city's residents and family members of the crew. The Great American Steamboat Company has hired 300+ employees from the area, including the steamboat crew, and an economic impact of $89 million is anticipated for the region.

Guests began disembarking to explore sites including Graceland and the legendary ducks of the Peabody Hotel boarded the vessel for an honorary inspection on behalf of Memphis. Friday, April 27, Priscilla Presley will serve as godmother of the American Queen in an afternoon christening ceremony at Beale Street Landing. Presley and the Great American Steamboat Company share a common passion towards the city of Memphis which will be a theme of the festivities featuring performances by local musicians, the sounds of the American Queen Calliope and a bottle of champagne crashing against the hull.

After the christening, the American Queen will depart for her inaugural voyage up the Mississippi River to the Ohio River with stops in Henderson, Ky., Louisville, Ky., and Madison, Ind., before arriving in her disembarkation city of Cincinnati, Ohio. On May 2 in Louisville, she will take part in the wonderful tradition of the Kentucky Derby Festival's Great Steamboat Race with the Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati.

A variety of voyage lengths, ranging from three nights to ten nights, and fares beginning at $995 per guest, offers exceptional value and convenience, with little or no flying required. With departures from iconic cities of Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis, St. Paul, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, this legendary mode of travel is easy to enjoy. A pre- or post-cruise luxury hotel stay, all bottled water and soft drinks, wine and beer at dinner and complimentary shore adventures are included in each port of call.

For additional information and reservations, kindly contact the Great American Steamboat Company at 888-749-5280, visit online at or call your professional travel agent.

Great American Steamboat Company

The Memphis-based Great American Steamboat Company (GASC) is the owner and operator of the U.S.-flagged Steamboat American Queen, the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built. She will deliver an authentic and timeless experience inspired by the palatial Mississippi steamboats of the Mark Twain era beginning April 2012. With convenient departures from some of the United States' most iconic cities such as Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis, Louisville, St. Paul, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, this legendary mode of travel will be easier than ever to enjoy.

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4-26-12 Princess Cruises Raises the Curtain on New Royal Princess Entertainment Venue "Princess Live!" Space Gives Passengers a Chance to Experience the Excitement of a Television Studio

Princess Cruises today raised the curtain on Princess Live!, a new type of cruise ship entertainment venue that passengers will enjoy aboard the new Royal Princess. Taking the audience behind the scenes to share the excitement of a working television studio, the high-tech Princess Live! will showcase live television broadcasts, intimate performances from musicians, and special events such as cooking shows, plus will feature an adjacent café.

Princess Live! will give passengers the opportunity to be part of the action in a television studio.

Located on Royal Princess' deck 7 just aft of the Piazza, Princess Live! will be a flexible, 280-seat venue based on a television broadcast studio. When the ship debuts in June 2013, Princess Live! will serve as a venue for daily broadcasts of "The Wake Show" with a new twist -- a daily live audience. This popular daily show staring the cruise director and special guests from around the ship is a staple across the Princess fleet, but is rarely staged live.

The colorful Princess Live! studio will also host a variety of events, including game shows, interactive cooking shows, art house films, enrichment classes, murder mysteries, trivia, and "Meet the Experts" presentations from the crew. Additionally, Princess Live! will serve as a more intimate performance venue for onboard musicians who will offer "unplugged" and "in-the-round" shows, providing an opportunity for entertainers to connect with the audience in a unique environment.

"Princess Live! will be an exciting new experience for passengers," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "Not only will they enjoy the high energy of being part of a live television production, but they also will have a new opportunity to see more intimate performances from many of our onboard entertainers."

The adjacent Princess Live! Café will surround passengers with interactive, wall-mounted screens showing the ship's position, ports of call, points of interest and even international newspapers. The café will serve up specialty coffees, teas and freshly squeezed citrus juice, plus will offer a selection of fresh-baked croissants and pastries in the morning.

Royal Princess will also feature the line's largest Princess Theater ever, with unobstructed sight lines from every seat, plus will see the return of an updated Vista Lounge at the aft of the ship to serve as an alternate evening performance venue.

The line has released a preview video showcasing Royal Princess entertainment venues, hosted by Princess Cruises Executive Vice President Rai Caluori and Vice President of Entertainment Martin Hall, available at

Additional information about other ship features will be released in the coming months.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises. Among the new features found on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; the dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship's starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; a dazzling water and light show; more dining options including a special Chef's Table Lumiere, wine cellar dining area and an expanded Horizon Court with pastry shop. Eighty percent of the ship's staterooms will feature a balcony. More information about the ship is available at

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at

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4-19-12 Viking River's "OCEAN" Venture to build first ships at Fincantieri

Viking Ocean Cruises, sister company of Viking River Cruises, the world's leading river cruise line, and Fincantieri, world leader in cruise shipbuilding, today announced the signature of a Memorandum of Agreement for the construction of two new luxury ocean cruise ships. The memorandum also includes an option for a third vessel.

In line with Viking's intimate, destination-focused approach to cruising, the new ocean ships will be small by today's standards at approximately 45,000 GRT and will host 998 passengers in 499 cabins. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in late 2014, the second one in late 2015.

The parties have reached an agreement on the financial and technical aspects of the deal and expect to sign the contract shortly, once the final documents and conditions are finalized.

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, commented on the announcement: "We started Viking River Cruises to offer great destination experiences, and we are excited to bring this same destination focus back to ocean cruising. The ship designed by Fincantieri has a fresh and innovative design well suited to deliver the award-winning Viking experience."

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri's Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are delighted and honored having been selected by Viking Ocean Cruises to build such an innovative project."

This project to build the first cruise ships for the popular river cruise line was priginally handed to STX shipyards of Germany - however it is often the responsibility of the shipyard to help the company get the financing for the vessels. Rumor has it that STX was not able to secure financing for the two ships, but that the ailing shipbuilding industry in Italy forced the Italian government to come through.

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4-19-12 CLIA Appoints Cruise Safety Review Panel

Panel of Experts Appointed to Evaluate Recommendations of Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today announced it has appointed a panel of maritime and safety experts to provide an impartial assessment of the recommendations developed by the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review, launched in January 2012. This Panel of Experts will evaluate suggested policy improvements as part of our continuous efforts to review and improve safety measures by developing comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation and ultimately, formal submission to the International Maritime Organization, as appropriate.

"Our number one priority is the safety of passengers and crew. The launch of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review was consistent with our industry's longstanding tradition of taking proactive measures to strengthen safety practices and procedures," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. "The impartial opinions and advice of these distinguished experts will help achieve our goal of continuous improvement and innovation in shipboard operations and safety."

The distinguished members of the Panel of Experts are:

1. Mark Rosenker, former Chairman of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a retired Major General, United States Air Force Reserve, and former Director of the White House Military Office.

2. Stephen Meyer, Admiral Royal Navy, retired. Former Commander of a number of Royal Navy ships, and former head of the United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

3. Dr. Jack Spencer, former Chief, Office of Marine Safety, United States National Transportation Safety Board. Dr. Spencer has more than 40 years of experience with the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board. He has also been on US delegations to the IMO for 30 years.

4. Willem de Ruiter, former head of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). In 2003, Mr. de Ruiter was appointed as the first executive director of EMSA and charged with building up the organization, after a distinguished career in the Dutch government and at the European Commission.

Each panel member brings deep experience in the maritime, regulatory and accident investigation fields. The Panel is balanced geographically with equal representation from the United States and Europe.

CLIA announced the launch of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review on January 27, 2012. The Review has included a comprehensive assessment of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety. As part of the Review, in February, CLIA members instituted a new policy requiring mandatory emergency muster drills for embarking passengers prior to departure from port. In March, CLIA members also put forth recommendations to the IMO supporting enhanced reporting requirements to improve the consistency and transparency of marine casualty data. Additional best practices and policies developed through the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review will be announced and implemented on an ongoing basis.

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4-17-12 PortMiami and Norwegian Cruise Line Announce Miami Will Be Home to New 4,000 Passenger Cruise Ship Beginning spring 2014, Norwegian Getaway will be the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami

PortMiami and Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Cruise Line's new state-of-the-art 4,000 passenger ship, Norwegian Getaway, will make Miami her year-round home port. Norwegian Getaway - which will be the largest ship ever to home port year-round in Miami - will embark on weekly cruises beginning in the spring of 2014. Miami-Dade County officials joined Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan today at PortMiami on board Norwegian Spirit for this announcement. "PortMiami is pleased to be the home of the most modern and innovative ships on the seas today. Norwegian Getaway will be a great addition to our fleet," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "We are anxious to welcome Norwegian Getaway to the Cruise Capital of the World." Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise brand to sail from Miami. "Miami has been the home of this Company since our beginning in 1966. Therefore, we are so excited to bring one of our two new Breakaway-class ships here to Miami to homeport year-round," said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan. "Norwegian Getaway will embrace all that the Magic City has to offer and will offer an extraordinary cruise experience to the more than 4,000 guests who will sail on her each week beginning in spring 2014." Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, joined County Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez in welcoming this new vessel to South Florida. "The Norwegian brand is known around the world for its Freestyle Cruising," Sosa said. "We are looking forward to bringing a new Norwegian ship to our community." PortMiami Director Bill Johnson said, "Norwegian vessels will generate more than one million passenger moves annually through the Port once Norwegian Getaway arrives, contributing an estimated $500,000,000 each year to Florida's economy. Norwegian Getaway alone is expected to generate 450,000 passenger moves each year." Norwegian Cruise Line has been sailing its ships from PortMiami longer than any other cruise brand, since the company's origins in 1966. Norwegian currently has three ships sailing seasonally from Miami, including Norwegian Epic, the line's largest vessel carrying more than 4,100 guests. Norwegian Sky has been sailing three and four-day itineraries to the Bahamas year-round from Miami since 2007. Being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Getaway will be 144,000 gross tons and is scheduled for delivery in spring 2014. Norwegian will announce the ship's inaugural itineraries and on-sale dates later this year. Norwegian Getaway's sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will begin sailing from her year-round home port of New York City in May 2013. To book a Norwegian Cruise Line sailing, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit

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4-17-12 MSC Divina Completes Sea Trials MSC Divina successfully completed her initial sea trials yesterday, returning to the Louis Joubert dock after 3 days on the open seas off the coast of Brittany, France. The ship performed to the full satisfaction of the MSC Cruises team. The rigorous trials involved around 360 people and more than 60 separate tests, covering everything from speed and manageability to sound levels and vibration. Further testing will be performed continuously up until the next big event in MSC Divina's busy schedule: the flag changing ceremony on May 19 in Saint-Nazaire. A maiden cruise to Marseille will then bring the new ship to her grand christening on May 26. The spectacular evening of entertainment and celebration will be dedicated to the Mediterranean and the passion of its people, and will again see Italian screen legend Sophia Loren cutting the ribbon as the godmother of the MSC Cruises fleet.

Photo credit: STX Europe - Bernard Biger

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4-16-12 Titanic 100 Years Later

This past weekend, April 14 and 15th represented the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. There were many truly special Titanic events this last week that were tasteful and fitting for the occasion. I actually learned a number of things this weekend I did not already know about Titanic, and like most ship enthusiasts I thought I knew it all.

One of the best things I saw over the weekend was the movie A Night to Remember made in England in 1958. Turner Classic Movies (the TCM channel) ran it commercial-free in its entirety (over two hours) on Saturday night, and even managed to time it so the ship hit the iceberg very close to the exact time of night the event occurred 100 years ago.

If you have never seen this movie (as I had not) it is surprisingly good, especially in terms of accuracy – equal to the one made by James Cameron who was lauded for the accuracy of his 1995 movie, but A Night to Remember seems far more interested in depicting the actual events of that night from the viewpoint of second officer Charles Lightoller. We see everything from the Belfast ship yard to actual footage of the real Titanic making calls at Cobh, Ireland and Cherbourg, France. There is no "Romeo and Juliet" subplot depicted in the movie – just the facts.

Most dramatically, we see in detail the ongoing actions of the wireless operators not only on Titanic, but also on the ships in its vicinity as the night wore on. We hear the discussion of the officers on the sinking ship as they try desperately to raise help from the fully capable Californian which was idle, engines stopped, within sight (10 miles) of the sinking ship. The Californian had stopped for the night precisely to avoid the ice, and had sent a warning to Titanic about the bergs and even pack ice in the vicinity just before it turned off its wireless. Unfortunately, the wireless operator on the Titanic interrupted the signal from the Californian because (1) it was so close it was too loud, and (2) he was busy sending out personal messages from all of the prestigious passengers onboard.

But after the ship started sinking, naturally the only signals is started sending were distress calls, yet only one ship took them seriously enough to respond, the Cunard Liner Carpathia, some four hours away. Unfortunately, Titanic only had two hours between the time it hit the berg and sank, and even with life jackets the amount of time a person could live in the 32-degree water before hypothermia took over was only 10 to 15 minutes.

At the time, 1912, Cunard Line did not yet own the White Star Line; they were two formidable competitors from Britain. The British government forced Cunard to take over White Star Line in the 1930s, and Cunard has maintained the slogan "White Star Service" ever since.

Peter Shanks, the current president of Cunard Line wrote a very touching article about the role played by the Carpathia that fateful night at the blog titled "Guided by a Greater Hand."

"The story of the Carpathia is a fascinating one and one for Cunard Line to be proud of. Carpathia was a workhorse; she wasn't one of the glamorous express transatlantic liners built to compete for the Blue Riband and designed to resemble Versailles. Only once was she met by hordes of photographers with flashbulbs popping when she arrived in New York."

Shanks goes on to tell the entire sequence of events from the viewpoint of the Carpathia, including raising the captain from his bed and his order to turn off the hot water and heat in order to get more steam to the engines. This ship ended up traveling faster than its design dictated, arriving at the scene at 4:00 a.m. and getting the first survivors aboard by 4:10.

This sequence of events on the Carpathia events as well as the discussions that took place on the Californian as she sat only 10 miles away but did not realize the Titanic was sinking are depicted very accurately in the movie A Night to Remember.

Even James Cameron pays homage to A Night to Remember in an interview with Good Morning America when he says the movie, which he saw as a child, started his fascination with Titanic. Indeed, for 1958 the movie has surprisingly realistic special effects including the raising of the aft section of the ship just before she went down – very similar to the Cameron version.

But one aspect A Night to Remember depicts in a far more realistic way is the panic that ensued after the third class passengers were finally released from their locked corridors only to rush to the top deck and discover that all but a few lifeboats had already departed.

I personally did not know the full sequence of events surrounding the lifeboats – the first and second class passengers were mustered immediately, but only women and children were allowed into the life boats. Even though there were many seats left men were not allowed in the boats (except for enough able seamen to row and navigate). The film shows the White Star Executive Bruce Ismay from the moment he decided not to include enough lifeboats in the building of the ship up until the time he jumped into an empty seat on one of the lifeboats while first class passengers remained on deck prepared to die.

One of the most extraordinary aspects of the story of Titanic is the fact that huge icebergs and even pack ice could descend as far south as Cape May in Massachusetts. James Cameron also created a special show "Last Mysteries of the Titanic" which also aired during the anniversary weekend in which he and his team speculate on what they have learned since he made his film, and what Titanic could have possibly done differently that night to save more lives.

He speculates about keeping the ship moving and possibly even unloading passengers on the pack ice. But Titanic apparently was not aware of the actual location of the pack ice that night.

Another confounding occurrence was that the Titanic did not receive the final message from the Californian that it was stopping for the night because of the amount of ice in the seas. Captain Edward John Smith and other officers on Titanic could have headed towards the Californian if they had known it was stopped, but by the time they realized the Californian had stopped the bow of Titanic had already started filling with sea water, lifting its propellers out of the water.

Of course - all of the problems of the Titanic - not seeing pack ice, limits on life boats, radios getting turned off, would never happen in this age because technology has improved so much and the Titanic resulted in newer safety standards that have become even more refined in the last 100 years. Cruising still remains the safest form of transportation possible.

Titanic Memorial Cruises

Also worth mentioning are the two memorial cruises that stayed just above the actual remains of the Titanic for a memorial service Saturday night. The "Titanic Memorial Cruise" ships are the Balmoral which sailed from the U.K. and the Azamara Journey which sailed from New York. The Balmoral, sailing from England was the more popular ship – since interest in Titanic is even greater in Britain than it is here in America.

Titanic was built in Ireland and largely staffed by residents of Southampton. Many of the more recognizable names of people who perished belonged to American industrialists; Benjamin Guggenheim, John and Madeleine Astor and Isidor and Ida Strauss, but most of the victims were poor immigrants from throughout Europe from steerage who never had a chance to get on a lifeboat. The bravest were the British and American husbands and fathers who stayed onboard while their half empty lifeboats went down bearing their wives and children.

Aftermath of Titanic

Personally, as a cruise reporter I am very happy to see that the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic disaster was treated with due respect despite the recent sensationalism of the Concordia disaster. Yes, with both events terrible mistakes were made, but lessons were also learned.

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