News Archive - August 2010

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08-31-10 Earl Changes Itineraries for Baltimore Cruise Ships The two cruise ships that sail out of the Port of Baltimore have made changes to itineraries this week because of Hurricane Earl. Carnival Pride sailed Sunday on a 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, but is skipping a port call at Grand Turk Island. Pride will stop at Port Canaveral tomorrow, instead, then spend two days in the Bahamas at Freeport and Nassau. The ship is also missing a call at Half Moon Cay - the Holland America private island.

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas - new to Baltimore this season - left last Thursday for a 9-night Caribbean cruise. The ship made its port call at San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday, but missed the Monday stop at St. Thomas calling at Samana, Dominican Republic and Labadee, Hait, insteadi. The ship will spend the next three days at sea, returning to Baltimore on Saturday.

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08-30-10 Lines Alter Cruise Itineraries Due to Hurricanes Every cruise line should posted weather updates at their respective web sites. If you are booked on a cruise this week or next you should go to the web site for your cruise line and check for weather updates.

This is posted at the Royal Caribbean Web site. The line posts storm up dates there on a regular basis:

August 30, 2010 10:00 a.m. E.S.T Due to the forecasted path of Hurricane Earl, Royal Caribbean International is altering the current itineraries for Enchantment of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. Enchantment of the Seas called on San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday, as scheduled, but will cancel its call at St. Thomas on Monday in order to avoid inclement weather from the storm. Instead, the ship will call at Samana, Dominican Republic on Monday, August 30 and Labadee, Haiti, on Tuesday, August 31. The ship will spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at sea as it returns to Baltimore on Saturday, as scheduled. Enchantment of the Seas is currently sailing a nine-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Baltimore on August 26. Oasis of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port calls to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on Tuesday, August 31 and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten on Wednesday, September 1. The most recent forecast simply places the storm too close to these ports of call during the time Oasis of the Seas would be sailing there. The ship will now call at Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Oasis of the Seas is sailing a seven-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Ft. Lauderdale on August 28. Freedom of the Seas will be unable to make its scheduled port calls to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on Wednesday, September 1 and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten on Thursday, September 2. The most recent forecast simply places the storm too close to these ports of call during the time Freedom of the Seas would be sailing there. The ship will call CocoCay, Bahamas on Monday, as scheduled, spend Tuesday at sea, and call into George Town, Grand Cayman on Wednesday. On Thursday, the ship will visit Cozumel, Mexico. The ship will spend Friday and Saturday at sea as it returns to Port Canaveral, Florida on Sunday, as scheduled. Freedom of the Seas is currently sailing a seven-night Caribbean itinerary, which departed Port Canaveral on August 29. No other Royal Caribbean International ship's itinerary is currently being affected by Hurricane Earl. Royal Caribbean will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and will update this information if there are any additional itinerary alterations due to the storm's projected path.

NCL has posted this:

Updated August 29 at 9 am ET
At Norwegian Cruise Line, the safety and security of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the company is closely monitoring the paths of both Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl. Because of the storms, we are modifying the following itineraries: Norwegian Dawn will depart New York as scheduled today. We are continuing to monitor the storm and there is a possibility of an itinerary change depending on the storm's path. Norwegian Epic departed Miami yesterday as scheduled. The ship will call into Cozumel, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras in place of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The ship's call into Nassau on Friday has been extended. Norwegian Spirit arrived in Bermuda this morning as originally scheduled. Guests on board the vessels will be kept up to date by the ship's Captain. It is also important to note that we will continue to closely monitor the storm and if the path changes, we may need to modify these itineraries. We appreciate our guests understanding. As soon as there is further information, we will update NCL.com and notify our guests.

Celebrity Cruises currently has no scheduled changes.

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08-29-10 Hurricane EARL Public Advisory From the National Hurricane Center...

HURRICANE EARL ADVISORY NUMBER 17...EARL EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN AS IT HEADS TOWARD THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS...

LOCATION...17.2N 58.4W ABOUT 225 MI...360 KM E OF ANTIGUA ABOUT 315 MI...510 KM E OF ST. MARTIN MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/HR PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 280 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/HR MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...985 MB...29.09 INCHES

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND PUERTO RICO...INCLUDING THE ISLANDS OF CULEBRA AND VIEQUES. A HURRICANE WATCH IS ALSO IN EFFECT FOR THESE AREAS.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...

  • ANTIGUA...BARBUDA...MONTSERRAT...ST. KITTS...NEVIS...AND ANGUILLA
  • SAINT MARTIN AND SAINT BARTHELEMY
  • ST. MAARTEN...SABA...AND ST. EUSTATIUS

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
  • BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
  • U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
  • PUERTO RICO INCLUDING THE ISLANDS OF CULEBRA AND VIEQUES
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
  • BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
  • U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
  • PUERTO RICO INCLUDING THE ISLANDS OF CULEBRA AND VIEQUES

HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 36 HOURS.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK ------------------------------ AT 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE EARL WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 17.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 58.4 WEST. EARL IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 17 MPH...28 KM/HR. A TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST WITH A GRADUAL DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF EARL WILL PASS NEAR OR OVER THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS TONIGHT AND MONDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 75 MPH...120 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. EARL IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE. STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AND EARL IS FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE BY TUESDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 30 MILES...45 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 160 MILES...260 KM.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS 985 MB...29.09 INCHES.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED IN THE WARNING AREA LATER TODAY...WITH HURRICANE CONDITIONS EXPECTED BY EARLY MONDAY MORNING. TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO SPREAD OVER THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AND PUERTO RICO ON MONDAY...WITH HURRICANE CONDITIONS POSSIBLE MONDAY NIGHT.

STORM SURGE...STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL PRIMARILY NEAR THE COAST IN AREAS OF ONSHORE WIND WITHIN THE WARNING AREA. THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES.

RAINFALL...EARL IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES OVER MUCH OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS...WITH POSSIBLE ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 8 INCHES. EARL IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES OVER PUERTO RICO...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES POSSIBLE OVER HIGHER ELEVATIONS. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES.

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08-29-10 Daneille Goes Out but Earl Threatens Hurricane Danielle was a major Category 4 storm, but it weakened to Category 1 while about 440 miles (708 km) east of Bermuda. Its top sustained winds fell to 90 mph as it moved northeast past Bermuda and farther from from the U.S. East Coast. Danielle is expected to gradually weaken in the next two days and lose its tropical storm status by Monday night.

The hurricane center said it expected large waves and dangerous surf conditions to diminish near Bermuda Sunday and subside slowly along the U.S. East Coast within the next two days.

Danielle caused dangerous rip currents along the U.S. East Coast Saturday, forcing the rescue of dozens of swimmers, according to media reports. There was one swimming death along the coast.

Tropical Storm Earl grew to hurricane strength on track towards the eastern Caribbean islands on Sunday and was moving westward at 18 mph . Earl reached hurricane status with winds of 75 mph (120 kph) at about 7:30 EDT when it was about 365 miles (585 km) east. Hurricane warnings went up on popular tourist islands including Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla and St. Maarten, the hurricane center said.

Forecasts showed it turning west-northwest in the next 48 hours before accelerating northward off the U.S. East Coast later in the week, far from the oil-producing Gulf Coast region.

Earl threatened the eastern Caribbean islands with a storm surge, battering waves and heavy rains, the hurricane center said.

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08-24-10 Hurricane Danielle May Change Cruise Schedules Danielle strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane early Tuesday as it churned through the middle of the Atlantic, far from land, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm is currently heading in the general direction of Bermuda, but remains some 1,700 miles away and isn't forecast to come anywhere near the island before this weekend. Although summer is the Bermuda cruising season, most Bermuda cruises are back in the United States on the weekend, not near the Island.

There is one exception, Enchantment of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) is on a five-day schedule and was supposed to be in Bermuda this weekend. The company is monitoring the storm and may change itineraries.

The storm is expected to become a major hurricane by early Wednesday, according to the center, but is forecast to stay east of Bermuda. Danielle would become a Category 3 storm when its top sustained winds reach at least 111 mph and would be capable of causing devastating damage.

At 5 a.m. ET, Danielle -- the second hurricane of the Atlantic season -- was moving toward the west near 20 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph. The storm is forecast to take a turn toward the west-northwest and then to the northwest by early Wednesday.

Hurricane Alex, the first hurricane of the season, sent thousands in northeastern Mexico to shelters in late June and early July. But other than that - what was projected to be heavy hurricane season has been relatively slow.

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08-17-10 Carnival Dream Kicks Off 10 People for Fighting A Florida magazine, FloridaToday, is reporting that the newest and largest Carnival cruise ship, Carnival Dream, had a fight onboard last week resulting in 10 people being forced to leave the ship in Costa Maya, Mexico. An 11th person traveling with some of passengers chose to disembark voluntarily with the rest.

The brawl apparently broke out in the nightclub, near the art gallery onboard. No serious injuries were reported but some passengers reported seeing blood spatters on artwork. It was also said that several people had been bandaged after the fight.

The only official coment coming from carnival Cruise Lines was, "A fight occurred on the vessel. It was broken up by ship's security and the cause of the fight was investigated which resulted in 10 guests being disembarked in Mexico. The safety and security of our guests and crew is of utmost importance and we will not tolerate behavior that could put any of them at risk."

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08-15-10 Indications of Mysterious Death on Norwegian Epic Saturday Night The South Florida CBS Television web site is reporting that Norwegian Epic was turned around and sailed back to Miami late Saturday night, and that upon returning to Miami several police in uniform did board the ship. Reports say that about 2:00 a.m. what appeared to be a covered body on a gurney was taken off the ship. The FBI is reported to be investigating right now.

The report is based largely on comments taken from "a well-known cruise community". The article says posters reported a "code alpha" broadcasted throughout the ship during a show by the ship's magician. 15 minutes later the cruise director came on and said the ship was returning to Miami. No explanation was given as to why.

However, rumors circulated the ship that the victim was a 21-year old man who apparently died from an allergic reaction to something he ate. It was also said that a family of six people would be getting off with the body.

It was reported that police stayed onboard until 2:20 a.m. and the gangway came up about 2:45. The ship set sail again at 3:30 and it is said no ports of call will be missed.

Several passengers did report seeing several Miami police officers onboard, walking through deck 10. Guests onboard were concerned there was not more information forthcoming. No names have been released, or other further information. There is no comment from NCL yet.

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08-12-10 Long Beach Queen Mary Starts Concerts Series The "Summer Concert Series at the Queen Mary" kicks off on Fri., Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by folk music legend Joan Baez and special guest Roger McGuinn. This will be the first of several concerts planned for August and September at the Harry Bridges Memorial Park at the Queen Mary including performances by Motown giant Smokey Robinson on Wed., Aug. 18 at 8 p.m., legendary Southern California rock band the Beach Boys on Thurs., Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. and three-time Grammy-Award winning folk-rock artist Lucinda Williams and special guest JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys on Thurs., Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The Queen Mary is hosting these concerts as part of the summer-long 2010 Long Beach Sea Festival. Additional shows and dates will be announced later this month.

Baez, the supremely accomplished interpretive folksinger of the '60s, has influenced nearly every aspect of popular music during her still-strong career and more than 30 albums. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer McGuinn is one of the pioneers of electric rock music in America and was the front man for the legendary band, The Byrds. Smokey Robinson's distinctive voice and songwriting skill has led to a 50-year career full of awards, including Grammys and induction into both the Songwriter Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Beach Boys, ranked #12 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, were awarded a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2001. Singer-songwriter Williams is the object of cultish adoration and hailed as a major talent, by both critics and fellow musicians, who emphasize songs rich in literary detail and poetic imagery. JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys are a new collaboration that brings together Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders with Welsh singer-songwriter JP Jones. Their first album together, "Fidelity!" is set for release next month.

Tickets for the first three shows are $35 for lawn seating and $65 for reserved seating (plus parking) and go on sale Fri., July 23 at 9 a.m. through Ticketmaster, at the Queen Mary box office, or online at www.queenmary.com. For Corporate VIP tents or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Bruce Skidmore at Bruce.Skidmore@queenmary.com or call 562-499-1701. To join the Queen Mary concert series email list for early announcements and ticket specials, email concertseries@queenmary.com.

Harry Bridges Memorial Park at the Queen Mary is a unique, intimate venue accommodating up to 3,000 guests in a combination of reserved and lawn seating for each performance. This outdoor venue has sweeping views of the ship, harbor, marina and the picturesque Long Beach skyline. It is one of few venues providing this atmosphere in southern California.

About the Queen Mary and its Summer Concert Series Located in the Port of Long Beach since 1967, the Queen Mary features a rich history, authentic Art Deco décor, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach city skyline. Its award-winning restaurants include the signature Sir Winston's. History buffs enjoy the ship's museum and Behind the Scenes tour while guests of all ages love the Ghosts & Legends Show.

Public transportation to the Queen Mary is available and encouraged through Long Beach Transit (please check www.lbtransit.com for fares and schedules). The ship will be open to guests who want to explore on board the days of concerts. Admission price, normally $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for children (5-11), will be offered at Buy-One-Get-One-Free for concert ticket holders on show days only, and includes admission to the Ghosts & Legends Show (additional tours can be purchased on-site). Special overnight hotel packages, including concert tickets, will be available online at www.queenmary.com or call 800-437-2934.

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08-9-10 Royal Caribbean Finds Chef for 150 Central Park On Allure After hosting an eight week-long contest, which culminated with five intense hours in the competition kitchens at The Culinary Institute of America, Royal Caribbean International has found the next chef to lead the kitchen of the signature restaurant onboard Allure of the Seas. Maureen "Molly" Brandt of Stillwater, Minn. has landed a one-year paid contract to be the Chef de Cuisine of 150 Central Park onboard Allure of the Seas.

Brandt was one of six chefs - all graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), to be a finalist in the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge, a contest open exclusively to the CIA's network of 40,000 alumni. The six chefs participated in a two-part final challenge at the college's Hyde Park campus in New York on August 5 & 6, where they were each required to showcase their culinary prowess and creativity by participating in an interview and preparing a three-course meal for an esteemed panel of judges from Royal Caribbean and The Culinary Institute of America.

"Partnering with the Culinary Institute and having the ability to tap into their alumni has been an amazing opportunity," said Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Each of the finalists truly showcased their passion and knowledge in the kitchen and we are extremely excited to have selected Molly as our new Chef de Cuisine for 150 Central Park."

After her entry video was selected as the "fan favorite" in the consumer voting portion of the contest, Brandt went on to impress the judges at the Final Challenge by serving up a menu consisting of Chilled Lobster with fennel, carrots, citrus, caviar and tempura battered lobster mitt; Provencal Lamb Loin with Dijon potato puree, ratatouille, pattypan squash and olive tapenade; and Pistachio Cake with whipped rosewater crème fraiche and carbonated raspberries.

"This entire process with The Culinary Institute of America and Royal Caribbean has been such an amazing experience and hearing my name announced as the winner of the Culinary Challenge was surreal," stated Maureen "Molly" Brandt, Chef de Cuisine, 150 Central Park, Allure of the Seas. "I am beyond thrilled to open this amazing restaurant and look forward to crafting the perfect menu for our guests over the next couple of months as we count down to the launch of Allure."

A 2006 alumni of The Culinary Institute of America, Brant was named a Food and Wine best student chef in 2006. While in training she worked at the Food Network as a culinary extern, where she prepared food for a variety of production projects including "Iron Chef America," "Emeril Live," and "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee." Immediately following graduation, she spent a year as a teaching assistant in the CIA's Escoffier restaurant, before going on to work in the kitchens at many reputable restaurants in New York, Minnesota and abroad, including the critically acclaimed, Michelin starred Cafe Boulud in New York City. Currently Brandt owns her own private chef and catering company, Cook in the Kitchen in the Twin Cities. She is also the co-founder and villa chef for Flavors of Italia, a company that offers intimate, culinary-focused vacations in Northern Tuscany.

Located in the lush and tropical grounds of the ship's Central Park neighborhood, 150 Central Park will feature décor that will embrace the mellow earth tones, unique textiles and fixtures inspired by nature's four seasons. Inspired by the simple elegance concept of trend-setting restaurants in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, each detail of 150 Central Park will be dedicated to enhancing the dining ambiance, from the tabletops to the service team uniforms. The restaurant menu and certain design aspects will be developed and determined by the winning chef of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge.

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08-6-10 Costa Favolosa Launched in Marghera

Costa Cruises' Fifteenth Ship in Costa Fleet Set to Debut in Summer 2011

Costa's newest ship, the Costa Favolosa, took to the sea for the very first time today at a ceremony held at Fincantieri's Marghera ship yard in honor of the ship's technical launch. The Costa Favolosa (114,500 tons; 3,000 dbl occ), will set sail on her first cruise in July 2011. She is the fourth of five new ships delivered or set to be delivered between 2009 and 2012 for Costa, which is Europe's Number One Cruise Line. The total investment of these five new ships is worth 2.4 billion euros. In Spring 2012, the Costa Fascinosa, a sister ship to the Costa Favolosa, will complete Costa's ambitious fleet expansion program.

"The launch of the Costa Favolosa confirms the strength and leadership of our company," said Costa Crociere S.p.A. President Gianni Onorato. "Despite the ongoing effects of the economic downturn in 2010 and the uncertain outlook for global tourism, our fleet expansion program has continued uninterrupted. The strength of our brand, which comes with a guarantee of over 60 years of experience, and the quality of our product have proved to be winning assets, highly appreciated by our customers. That is confirmed also by the positive results in terms of bookings achieved this summer and forecasts suggest we will end 2010 with 2.1 million total guests for the group as a whole, which works out to an increase of around 17% compared to last year."

The construction of each new build involves the labor of around 3,000 people, comprising both Fincantieri's own employees and those of about 500 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms. In overall terms, the fleet investment program launched back in 2000 by the Costa Crociere S.p.A. Group (comprising Costa Cruises as well as the number one brand for the German market AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros, which operates mainly for the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets) is worth some 9.3 billion euros.

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri CEO commented: "It is a source of great pride for us to launch this new jewel we are building for our friends at Costa, Europe's cruise leader with whom we are pleased to further strengthen our long-lasting, successful relationship. This partnership, besides affording prestige, is absolutely vital, not only for the future of the tourism sector, but also for all the areas of business involved since, without the many ships built for Costa, Fincantieri would not be here today defending the company's world leadership and the impact of the current serious crisis would be even greater. More than ever before it is important to develop the partnership, to ensure that our two companies may long continue to represent the excellence of Made in Italy around the world, the leading builder and the leading operator in the cruise ship market."

The ceremony for the launch of the Costa Favolosa observed the protocol laid down for such occasions by seafaring tradition. The director of the shipyard invited the Godmother, Beatrice Siri, to cut the ribbon and the bottle of champagne duly broke against the bows of the ship. Betarice Siri, new building and special projects deputy of Costa Cruises, has been directly involved in the construction of the fleet's last six ships, including the Costa Favolosa, and on March 8, 2010 she received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic from the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. After the opening of the valves and the gradual flooding of the slipway where the ship has taken shape over the last few months, the hull of the Costa Favolosa was transferred for the first time to its natural element - the sea. The launch was preceded by the welding of a coin to the base of what used to be the mainmast in a ceremony traditionally considered to augur well.

As her name suggests (Favola is Italian for "fairy tale"), the Costa Favolosa is intended to interpret the excitement and emotion of people who view the cruise as a magical voyage in a "contemporary enchanted castle," a perfect combination of fabulous atmosphere and state-of-the-art high-tech fun with a truly amazing range of amenities. The main innovations on board include: six new suites with private verandas and Jacuzzis; a new entertainment area for teenagers (other age groups are sure to enjoy it too), comprising 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar with ice-cream, drinks and popcorn, and a Teens' Dance Floor; a children's game room, and a new open-air Aqua Park water playground with its own pirate galleon. Facilities will combine the very best of the Costa product: the Samsara Spa, one of the largest and most exclusive wellness centers ever built on a cruise ship; a large lido extending over two decks, with a sliding glass roof and giant movie screen; a Grand Prix driving simulator; and a golf simulator. A newly designed aft pool area will be particularly large and inviting with 1000 m2 of space dedicated to relaxation and entertainment with the added attraction of new raised whirlpool tubs.

The Costa Favolosa's position at the cutting-edge of cruise ship building technology also extends to environmental compliance, which has always been a hallmark of Costa Cruises. Like some other fleet members, the Italian Company's new flagship will be equipped for "cold ironing," namely a system whereby the ship is plugged into shoreside electrical power, enabling generators to be shut down during stopovers in port.

The Costa Favolosa is set to make her debut on a three-day mini vernissage cruise departing from Venice on July 4, 2011, and calling at Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Koper (Slovenia). This will be followed by her grand inaugural cruise, which leaves Venice on July 7. This 10-day itinerary will visit Israel, Greece and Turkey with stopovers in Bari, Corfu (Greece), Haifa (Israel), Izmir (Turkey) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Throughout the 2011 summer season the Costa Favolosa will offer seven-day cruises from Venice and Bari to Olympia (Greece), Izmir and Istanbul (Turkey), and Dubrovnik (Croatia).

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08-3-10 Ft Lauderdale Sun Sentinal Publishes Initial Cruise "Crime" Reports The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel released a statement today saying it has published some of the initial reports of "crime upon cruise ships" as the cruise lines intend to report to the FBI under the new law. Here is the paper's statement...

When deaths, assaults, thefts and other incidents occur aboard cruise ships, cruise lines file reports with the FBI. The Sun Sentinel obtained copies of reports filed from December 2007 through October 2008 and created a searchable database, that makes this information available to the public for the first time. (Other requests for this data remain unfulfilled.)

In fact - these reports are very similar to what the cruise lines have been reporting to the FBI for years.

When we read through these reports at CruiseMates we think it is very important to point out that these are not crime reports, as they are called. These are listings of allegations of crime that people on cruise ships have made to people in charge on cruise ships. In no way should these be regarded as actual proven crime convictions or resolutions, except in cases where it says there was an arrest made followed by a conviction, or some kind of admission of guilt is on record.

In fact, most of these cases remain non-adjudicated, in many cases there was no follow-up at all by the request of the person filing the complaint. This means no determination that any crime was committed was ever made. In that light, we at CruiseMates hope someone with a criminal law enforcement background will look at these reports and render an opinion as to their validity and relevance in determining the true level of crime and/or safety on cruise ships.

The reports can be found here: www.sun-sentinel.com/cruisecrime

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08-2-10 Camilla revisits Cunard Queen Victoria History was made in Liverpool recently when Her Royal Highness, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall graced the decks of Cunard Line's Queen Victoria as the ship made her maiden call in Liverpool. The day marked The Duchess' second visit to the ship - her first was for the ship's naming ceremony in December 2007 when she christened the liner. More about this royal visit can be found on Cunard's blog: www.WeAreCunard.com.

Not only did The Duchess reacquaint herself with "her" ship and crew, but she also helped Cunard commemorate the 170th anniversary of the company's first ship, the Britannia, which set sail from Liverpool in July 1840.

"Cunard is honoured that Her Royal Highness named this fine ship, and delighted that she continues to display such an interest both in the ship and in the crew. The Duchess will always be warmly welcomed on board," said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

In January 2011, Queen Victoria will begin her first Americas season, traversing the Panama Canal on more than one voyage and making two rare roundtrip sailings from Los Angeles to Hawaii, plus debuting her maiden Mexico Getaway voyage.

Prior to embarking on her maiden Americas season, Queen Victoria will meet Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth in New York Harbour for another spectacular Cunard Royal Rendezvous on 13 January 2011, exactly three years to the day that she met Queen Mary 2 and QE2 in New York for the first meeting of the three Queens. For more information, visit www.cunard.com/rendezvous.

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