News Archive - January 2011

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1-31-11 S.S. United States Saved by Preservationists Thew wall street journal is reporting that a small group of ship-lovers is taking ownership of the object of their affection: the historic ocean liner S.S. United States.

On Tuesday, the preservationist group S.S. United States Conservancy will officially become the owner of the vessel. The price was $3 million paid to cruise-line operator NCL Group, according to both parties.

"Now comes the real challenge," said Dan McSweeney, the conservancy's executive director. The goal is a "public-private partnership" to find a permanent spot to dock the ship and fill it with hotels, restaurants, classrooms or offices. "We've got 650,000 square feet of space," he said.

Built during the Cold War as an expression of American luxury and industrial prowess, the S.S. United States carried presidents and royalty during years of trans-Atlantic ocean liner service in the 1950s and 1960s. Then jet travel ended the golden age of ocean-liner service. The ship was mothballed in the late 1960s, bouncing from owner to owner ever since.

NCL planned to use it for cruises around Hawaii after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. But that never happened, and in the few years NCL took bids from scrapyards.

The conservancy said it had begun talks with municipal officials or developers in Philadelphia, Miami and New York. the ship's original home port. "We can now take these conversations to the next level, because we finally hold title to the vessel," said Susan Gibbs, conservancy-board president. She declined to name the potential partners.

The conservancy has also commissioned a report that proposes incorporating the ship into a river-front redevelopment plan in Philadelphia that includes a casino, hotels and restaurants.

The sale was delayed when the Environmental Protection Agency raised questions about toxic PCBs on the liner, common for ships of its era. Those questions had been addressed, an EPA official said in a statement. "It is EPA's understanding that the parties intend to comply with applicable PCB regulations by full and complete PCB remediation and disposal" before the ship is reused, the agency said.

Time is now of the essence. "We only have the funding for a 20-month stay of execution for the vessel, so we must move quickly," Ms. Gibbs said. That money, along with the $3 million to buy the ship, came from Gerry Lenfest, a Philadelphia philanthropist .

On Tuesday the group plans to announce the purchase in Philadelphia. That will be followed by a reception across the street from the S.S. United States, in an Ikea cafeteria that offers a good view of the ship they will have just bought.

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1-26-11 Celebrity Silhouette to be Named in Hamburg Celebrity Silhouette, the newest addition to Celebrity CruisesSolstice class family, will make history this summer when it is officially named in Hamburg, Germany. When it comes to automobiles and cruise ships, "made in Germany" is often the mark of high quality, innovative design and precision. Celebrity Cruises' award-winning Solstice Class ships are no exception, and their German heritage is coming full circle with the German locale of Celebrity Silhouette's official naming festivities, with all their pomp and circumstance.

Built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, the 2,886-guest Celebrity Silhouette will be introduced to the world on July 21, 2011, with formal naming ceremonies that will kick off a two-night preview cruise for invited travel agents, press and other dignitaries. Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth Solstice Class ship in a series of five built at the sixth-generation, family-owned German yard renowned for its commitment to excellence, and the first in its class to be officially named in Germany.

"We are so honored that Germany will be the first country outside of the United States or the United Kingdom to host the naming of a Solstice Class ship," said Tom Fecke, General Manager, RCL Cruises Ltd., Germany. "This is a clear commitment not only to the German cruise market, but also to the growing interest in the Celebrity Cruises brand, which continues to evolve and attract affluent vacationers. Hamburg, with its strong cruising tradition and appeal, provides an ideal setting, and we are very much looking forward to the celebration of the launch of this stunningly beautiful new ship."

Vacationers eager to experience Celebrity Silhouette can book its inaugural cruise of July 23, a seven-night cruise to Rome. Following a Rome-focused two-night preview cruise for invited members of the travel industry and the media, the ship will introduce a series of 12- and 13-night Holy Land sailings roundtrip from Rome. Beginning this November, Celebrity Silhouette will be the first Solstice Class ship to present cruises from Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey, bringing the Solstice Class's award-winning style and design to the greater New York City area.

Celebrity Silhouette will offer significantly expanded onboard opportunities for vacationers to enjoy their precious vacation time. New venues that will debut on Celebrity Silhouette will highlight some of the premium brand's most compelling characteristics, offering unique experiences focused on the culinary arts, ways to relax and enjoy stylish surroundings at sea, and engaging, enriching onboard activities. These venues include:

  • The Lawn Club Grill, the industry's first outdoor, interactive grill restaurant
  • The Porch, offering quick, simple, casual and complimentary breakfasts and lunches against a backdrop of views of the lawn and sea
  • The Art Studio, a space within The Lawn Club where guests can participate in intimate, hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food, with plating, tastings, mixology and other culinary-themed classes
  • The Alcoves, a private retreat overlooking the lawn, ocean and coastlines, featuring eight exclusive, cabana-style settings, each designed for two to four guests
  • The Hideaway, a high-tech, avant-garde treehouse-like spot for vacationers relaxing with their Apple iPads or perhaps reading a good book within cozy, intimate lounging "nests"

In addition to the innovative new venues and experiences, Celebrity Silhouette will offer iconic Solstice Class attributes, including:

  • The hip "Celebrity iLounge" that made Celebrity Cruises the industry's first Authorized Apple Reseller
  • Uniquely unordinary "Qsine," the first seagoing restaurant to feature a menu and wine list on an iPad®, and an engaging food-as-theater dining experience
  • Ten unrivaled restaurants - in addition to "The Lawn Club Grill" and "The Porch"
  • Modern, stylish interiors designed by some of the world's best architects and designers, including Adam Tihany
  • Cool nightclubs and lounges, including CellarMasters, complete with the industry's first installation of the innovative Enomatic wine serving system
  • One of the broadest and best wine offerings in the industry, served by one of the world's largest staffs of certified sommeliers
  • One of the world's largest permanent collections of original contemporary art, and the industry's first self-guided art tours to be presented on an iPad®
  • Top-tier entertainment, including custom aerial production shows and live music

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1-24-11 Oceania Marina Sets Sail Towards Florida Oceania Cruises' new ship Marina departed from Barcelona Saturday, Jan. 22 at 6:00 pm (local time) on her Maiden Voyage. The 13-day passage to North America will call at Malaga, Spain; Casablanca and the Canary Islands before crossing the Atlantic. Seven days at sea will give guests time to explore Marina from stem to stern before she arrives in Miami for christening festivities beginning Feb. 4, 2011.

A ship of firsts, Marina features the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, the first hands-on cooking school at sea, Master Chef Jacques Pépin's first namesake restaurant at sea; Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner's Suites; luxurious accommodations by designer Dakota Jackson; Wine Spectator wine program; and Lalique grand stairway. Moreover, Marina has been designed for epicureans offering an unprecedented 10 dining venues - comparable in quality to the very best shore-side restaurants.

"Marina has been so eagerly anticipated by our past guests," stated Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings. "It is exciting to now host our first guests onboard and see their reaction to her stunning facilities and amenities."

When she arrives in Miami on Feb. 4, a celebratory welcome will commence and continue throughout the weekend. At a lavish ceremony on Feb. 5 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT Icon Mary Hart will name Marina and christen her with a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, custom-made by Armand de Brignac. The festivities culminate with a gala sailaway party and fireworks display in Biscayne Bay overlooking the Miami skyline.

After the christening festivities in Miami, Marina sets sail Feb. 8 on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

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1-22-11 Royal Caribbean Upgrades Crown & Anchor Society Royal Caribbean International today announced new enhancements to its Crown & Anchor Society guest loyalty program. The updated program better recognizes the cruise line's valued loyal guests and includes a migration from cruise credits to Cruise Points, creating a new way to earn membership status; two new member tiers, which include additional benefits; and a more personalized member section on the website. The enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society take effect for sailings on or after January 21, 2011, and are the second part to the program's evolution, which first introduced additional benefits in June 2010.

"These latest enhancements to the Crown & Anchor Society will further help recognize our loyal guests when they sail with us," said Betsy O'Rourke, senior vice president of Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "We continuously listen and respond to our members' feedback and have updated our loyalty program to provide a more equitable way for our members to advance to the next level. This program evolution is part of the Royal Advantage, our dedication to innovate our amazing ships and unprecedented programs to offer guests the best cruise vacation. It's important to understand that Crown & Anchor Society members will continue to enjoy all of their current program benefits and status, plus having the opportunity now to advance to the next tier even faster than before. For this one-time conversion, we have grandfathered everyone's status in the program."

The program's first enhancement is the transition from ‘cruise credits' to ‘Cruise Points.' The new system to earn tier status when sailing with Royal Caribbean International is based on one cruise point for every night spent aboard one of the cruise line's ships. The more nights members spend onboard, the more points they can earn. Additionally, Crown & Anchor Society members can earn double points when they pay for suite accommodation.

Furthermore, two new status levels are being introduced as part of the enhancements to the program: Emerald tier, between the current Platinum and Diamond status levels, and Pinnacle Club, the new top tier. The new progression of Crown & Anchor Society member status is Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The newly introduced Emerald status level will provide all the Platinum level benefits, in addition to some new benefits on their way to Diamond status, such as higher member savings for balcony and suite category staterooms and a personalized welcome gift on every cruise. Pinnacle Club members will be honored for their incredible loyalty to Royal Caribbean International and will be further recognized with all the benefits of the entire program and complimentary cruises at certain cruise-points milestones. Guests who have a minimum of 100 cruise credits before January 21, 2011, will be the first to be invited to join the new top Crown & Anchor Society member tier. Moving forward, Pinnacle Club status can be achieved with 700 Cruise Points, equivalent to 100 seven-night cruises - or less cruises if members choose to sail in suite category staterooms or on longer itineraries.

Additionally, the Crown & Anchor Society website (www.RoyalCaribbean.com/CrownandAnchor) is being re-launched to engage members and offer greater personalization. Each member will now enjoy a website experience that provides information that is relevant to them as soon as they log into their account. Members can now easily keep abreast of the latest news and offers that are available to them according to their status level and messages that are exclusively for them. Additionally, members can establish custom settings for items such as automatic upgrades for when a higher category stateroom becomes available. Emerald- and higher-level members with a booked sailing also can use the new member site to select new program benefits, such as a choice of beverages as part of their new Welcome Aboard gift basket.

Member guests will continue to enjoy the many Crown & Anchor Society benefits, such as the exclusive privilege to book their next Royal Caribbean cruise onboard and enjoy an Onboard Booking Bonus of up to $200 onboard credit. For further value, members can use their Onboard Booking Bonus with their Crown & Anchor Society Savings Certificate or, for Platinum members and above, their Balcony and Suite savings benefit. Members who have registered their email address also will receive priority notification of special offers, news and itinerary updates.

To celebrate the incredible loyalty of program members, Royal Caribbean is introducing a limited time offer: ‘Bring a Friend' and receive $25 to spend onboard. Members will be rewarded for introducing new guests to Royal Caribbean International for new bookings made between January 12 and April 30, 2011. The promotion will offer a $25 onboard credit per stateroom to Crown & Anchor Society members when sailing with their ‘first to Royal' friends or family, for up to five staterooms per sailing, depending on the length of their cruise. Full details, terms and conditions and registration for promotion can be found online at www.RoyalCaribbean.com/BringaFriend.

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1-17-11 Park West Galleries Wins Dismissals Crain's Detroit is reporting that Park West Gallery won two dismissals in an Oakland County lawsuit alleging conspiracy and fraud in cruise ship auctions. In a separate case, Park west won a dismissal in a claim of copyright infringement brought by a Chilean artist.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Wendy Potts in late December granted Park West's request to dismiss claims of misrepresentation, breach of contract and unjust enrichment in a 2010 buyers' lawsuit by some 27 buyers in various states and other countries brought in June against Park West, CEO Albert Scaglione, manager Morris Schapiro and others.

In November, five of the buyers were dismissed from the case because their purchase invoices contain a clause for resolving disputes with the dealer in arbitration.

On Dec. 27, the court also agreed to dismiss most of the remaining buyers' legal claims without prejudice, meaning they can be reintroduced. A conspiracy claim was allowed to stand because it might survive if the buyers provide more detail.

A new trial still awaits in a separate federal case in which Park West sought $46 million in damages against Phoenix-based Global Fine Art Registry LLC and its CEO, Teresa Franks stemming from a series of reports the Registry published online.

Those articles focused mainly on buyers alleging fraud and violations of consumer protection laws in several states in art auctions that the Park West at Sea subsidiary manages aboard cruise ships. The works of art under consideration were primarily sold as authentic Salvador Dali prints, according to the Fine Art Registry articles.

The jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff in April awarded no damages to Park West and none in six of the seven counterclaims that Fine Art Registry and the other defendants had filed against the dealer. But it awarded $500,000 against Park West on a single count of violations of the federal Lanham Act governing several aspects of trademark law.

Zatkoff later vacated that verdict and ordered a new trial.

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1-12-11 Carnival Spirit Moving to Australia 2012

In a major boost for the australian tourism industry, the world's largest cruise line - Carnival Cruise Lines - has announced that it will base one of its cruise ships fulltime in Australia. Unfirtunately, this will be a blow to the California cruise market. It will also mean one of the bst persistent values ecery year in Alaska will no longer be available

The 88,500 tonne Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year round from Australia when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of 8-12 day voyages to the Pacific Islands.

The move - announced globally in Sydney today - represents the first time Carnival Cruise Lines has ever ventured into Australian waters and reflects growing confidence in cruising in the region.

Carrying 2,667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney year round that is too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Rising nearly 53 metres above the waterline, Carnival Spirit is more than three metres taller than the specified clearance height for ships passing under the Bridge. Because of its height, Carnival Spirit will be based at the only cruise facility east of the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay's Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Founded in 1972 and based in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is the best known cruise brand in North America and is expected to carry more than four million passengers this year - the most in the global cruise industry.

As the largest cruise ship sailing from Australia year round, Carnival Spirit offers a wide range of onboard facilities and features, with approximately two-thirds of its cabins featuring private balconies - the most of any Australian-based ship.

Aimed at fun-loving Australians seeking vibrant, active holidays with a broad diversity of on-board choices, Carnival Spirit offers a host of areas for outdoor fun, including a 22 metre corkscrew water slide, four swimming pools, a miniature golf course, jogging track and a sport court. Guests have their choice of 16 lounges and bars, including a 1,170-seat three-deck-high theatre. In addition to a two-level main dining room, Carnival Spirit features a reservations-only steakhouse and an expansive casual poolside restaurant. The ship also houses a two-level health spa with wrap-around ocean views and an Internet café.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which represents Carnival Cruise Lines' Australian deployment locally, said the cruise line's move into Australia was testament to both the recent growth and the ongoing potential of the local cruise industry.

"Cruising is booming in this country because it offers passengers a great value holiday that includes accommodation, top quality food and loads of entertainment that appeal to all age groups," Ms Sherry said.

Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines' President and CEO, said the cruise line was looking forward to introducing its unique style of cruising to the Australian market.

"Carnival has become the most popular cruise choice among North Americans by offering an experience that is casual, friendly and fun with a wide variety of activities for guests of all ages, including a huge array of options on our expansive outdoor decks," Mr Cahill said.

Carnival Spirit will offer a year round schedule of 8 to 12-day cruises to the Pacific Islands and a selection of 13-day sailings to New Zealand beginning October 25, 2012, with the program expected to go on sale by the middle of this year. The shipboard experience will be tailored to the Australian market with onboard spending in Australian dollars and no tipping required.

Ms Sherry said while the primary market would be Australians and New Zealanders, Carnival's strong brand recognition in the United States would play a role in attracting more US tourists to Australia.

Carnival Spirit's deployment meant there would be seven Carnival Corporation & plc ships cruising fulltime from Australia by the end of 2012, ensuring the industry was well on its way to reaching its target of one million passengers by 2020, if not sooner, she said. Other Carnival Corporation & plc brands operating fulltime in Australia include P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.

"It is amazing growth considering there were just two ships based in Australia year round in 2007," Ms Sherry said.

"This really underscores Sydney's position on the world cruise map and our resolve to keep growing the market with multiple brands that appeal to customers."

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1-11-11 First Holland America Culinary Council Held on Noordam

Holland America Line's Culinary Council held its first meeting last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and then gathered for a luncheon aboard ms Noordam. The Council, which recently was formed to enrich all aspects of Holland America Line's culinary offerings, is composed of Council Chairman and Holland America Line's Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Jacques Torres, Charlie Trotter and Marcus Samuelsson.

The Culinary Council met to share insights on the line's menus and Culinary Arts Center enrichment program, as well as to coordinate their personal dishes that will be featured in dining venues across the fleet later this year. The group also had the opportunity to tour Noordam's galley and were able to observe the ship's culinary operation. A media luncheon hosted by Holland America Line President and CEO Stein Kruse, along with the chefs, concluded their time on board.

The Council is slated to meet regularly with Holland America Line executives to provide guidance on the line's culinary initiatives.

Holland America Line is known for its innovative and leading programming and partnerships, providing guests with a premium and enriching cruise experience. The line has garnered numerous accolades and awards and is consistently among the highest-rated cruise lines in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards and Condé Nast Traveller UK Readers' Travel Awards. In addition, Culinary Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin was named Best Cruise Line Master Chef by Porthole Cruise Magazine and is a member of the Academy Culinaire de France, Maîtres Cuisiners de France and Honorary Member Club des Chefs des Chefs.

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1-7-11 Feds Raid Jam Fest Cruise Embarkation - 15 Arrested The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a popular music cruise, Jam Fest, was raided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents before the MSC Poesia set sail. The agency was looking for illegal drugs and contraband while it was docked at Port Everglades.

The paper reports there were 15 seizures of Marijuana; LSD; mushrooms, hash oil; Ecstasy; prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia in mostly small quantities, according to a CBP spokeswoman' Migdalia Travis.

The names of those arrested were not released. MSC Cruises said it would have to confirm the report before making a comment.

Agents and K-9 officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the U.S.Marshals Service; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Broward Sheriff's Office participated in the raid, according to the CBP spokesperson.

This was the 9th Jam Cruise with the name Jam Fest. The cruise was promoted (fittingly?) by "Cloud 9 Adventures" and they call their loyalty program the "Repeat Offenders."

To discuss this story, go here: Feds Raid Jam Fest Cruise

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1-7-11 Seabourn Moving Headquarters to Seattle Seabourn has announced that the company's headquarters will move from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington. The transition will take place over the next few months.

As a part of a reorganization plan, Seabourn will join sister brand Holland America Line, expanding further the cruise industry presence in the Pacific Northwest. Seabourn and Holland America Line will maintain independent brand management teams while leveraging efficiencies from shared resources including a unified field sales force and state of the art technology platforms.

Seabourn's President, Pamela Conover, will continue to serve in her role during the transition period but has chosen not to move to Seattle at this time. Following the transition, she will continue to serve as special advisor and brand ambassador for Seabourn. Richard Meadows, who has held a number of executive positions at several Carnival Corporation& plc brands during his twenty-five year tenure with the company, will assume Seabourn's presidency once the move to Seattle is completed. Meadows previously served as Seabourn's senior vice president of sales & marketing where he played a significant role in developing the ultra-luxury brand. He will continue in his role as executive vice president of marketing, sales & guest programs for Holland America Line.

"We are proud to welcome the Seabourn headquarters to Seattle," said Stein Kruse, President and CEO of Holland America Line. "Seabourn and Holland America Line will benefit from the proximity of two award winning brand teams, while also enjoying more streamlined operations resulting from shared technology such as reservation and customer relationship management systems. We are fortunate that Pam will continue her association with Seabourn, and Rick's prior experience with the company makes him the ideal candidate to lead Seabourn into the future."

Seabourn provides ultra-luxury cruises on smaller, more intimate ships to the most desirable destinations in the world. Seabourn cruises are exceptional vacations, satisfying the highest expectations of its discerning guests. Throughout its twenty year history, Seabourn has consistently been rated not only among the top cruise lines, but also among the world's premier vacation choices. The Seabourn fleet currently includes Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit, Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn. The Seabourn Quest will enter service in June of 2011.

Seabourn's sister company, Holland America Line, operates a fleet of 15 premium ships offering more than 500 cruises to 350 ports on all seven continents. The company's Signature of Excellence enhancements, a commitment totaling more than $566 million, showcase the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine - a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes - Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, Digital Workshop powered by Windows, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds.

For information on cruising vacations aboard Seabourn's ships, contact a travel agent, call Seabourn at 1-800-929-9391 or visit www.seabourn.com.

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1-5-11 Falmouth, Jamaica, First Ship Visits Postponed Until Feb. 17 Falmuoth, Jamaica's newest cruise ship port of call, will not be ready to host passengers for six nore weeks due to the slow pace of final preparations, officials with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and the government said Tuesday.

John Tercek, vice president of new business development for the Miami-based company, said the two-berth cruise port in the north coast town of Falmouth is ready to dock ships but sections of the 32-acre site remain a tangle of scaffolding and unfinished buildings.

"To be honest, it looks like a construction site," Tercek said during a Tuesday phone interview from Florida.

During a weekend tour of the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port development, Royal Caribbean and Jamaican officials agreed that the site was not ready to deliver an entirely pleasant experience for passengers. The cruise line decided to delay scheduling the maiden port call until Feb. 17.

"It actually makes a ton of sense. It's a high-profile project so why do it less than great?" said Tercek, adding that the first cruise liner next month will be the Voyager of the Seas out of Galveston, Texas.

The ambitious $220 million project in the modest town of Falmouth, between the popular resort cities of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, had been expected to host Royal Caribbean's 3,400-passenger Navigator of the Seas on Friday.

But in recent days, it became clear that the port, being developed by the cruise line in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica, would not be ready for a Jan. 7 port call. The Navigator of the Seas was quickly rerouted to Montego Bay.

"We still need a major spruce-up of the town, including working on local historic buildings and diverting traffic to pedestrianize certain areas," said William Tatham, vice president of cruise shipping and marina operations for Jamaica's port authority.

Complicating efforts, nearly 500 workers at the port walked off the job Monday claiming they were underpaid and overtaxed. Jamaica's labor ministry was trying Tuesday to ease the dispute and quickly end the work stoppage.

Royal Caribbean is investing some $170 million in the three-phase project, which was designed to have one berth accommodate the cruise line's huge 16-deck, 225,000-ton (204,100-metric-ton) Oasis of the Seas. The company says it is the largest development undertaken in the Caribbean basin for years.

This first construction phase will cost some $180 million, most of which was put up by Jamaica's port authority, which was pegged to oversee development of berths and construction of the terminal. Construction is being handled by Danish contractor E. Pihl & Sons AS.

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1-4-11 Norwegian Cruise Line Caribbean Cruises for 2012/2013 Announced Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its Caribbean deployment for the 2012/2013 season with itineraries from Miami, Tampa and New Orleans along with Repositioning, Panama Canal and Quick Getaway cruises.

These cruises go on sale to Norwegian's top travel partners and Latitudes members (past guests) today, January 4, 2011 and to the general public on Wednesday, January 5.

"Our 2012/2013 Caribbean cruise deployment offers an abundance of choice in departure ports, ships and itineraries for those looking to relax in the sun," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We are excited to bring our newest and most innovative ship, Norwegian Epic, back to Miami along with offering the freedom and flexibility of Freestyle Cruising to the Caribbean from our homeports in Tampa and New Orleans."

In Miami, the 4,100 passenger Norwegian Epic will continue her alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing on Saturdays from November 3, 2012 to April 13, 2013. The Eastern Caribbean cruises call on Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands with an optional tour to St. John; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruises stop in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Norwegian Jewel, featuring Nickelodeon at Sea family programming along with Norwegian Epic, will also sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Miami on Sundays from October 14, 2012 to April 14, 2013. The Eastern Caribbean cruises call on Samaná, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands with an optional tour to St. John; Tortola, British Virgin Islands with an optional tour to Virgin Gorda; and Nassau, Bahamas. The Western Caribbean cruises visit Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico.

In addition, Norwegian Sun will sail 10- and 11-day Southern Caribbean cruises from Miami from October 14, 2012 to April 10, 2013. The 10-day cruise calls on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands with an optional tour to St. John; Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. The 11-day cruise calls on Cartagena, Colombia; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands with an optional tour to St. John. Norwegian Sun will also sail one seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral) on April 14, 2012 with stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas.

In Tampa, the 2,224-passenger Norwegian Dawn will replace Norwegian Star sailing 23 seven-day Western Caribbean cruises departing on Sundays from November 11, 2012 to April 14, 2013. The ship will call on Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Norwegian Star will homeport in New Orleans during the winter and spring offering seven-day Western Caribbean cruises every Sunday with ports of call including Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Norwegian will also offer 11 repositioning cruises ranging from a four-day Pacific Coastal to a 17-day Panama Canal from April 15 to October 26, 2012 departing from Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Quebec. For the first time, the cruise line will offer a 16-day Colonial America cruise on Norwegian Dawn sailing from Quebec City, Quebec to Tampa, Florida on October 26, 2012 calling on Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New York, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Miami and Key West, Florida.

In addition, two-day Quick Getaways will be offered from Miami on board Norwegian Jewel on October 12, 2012 and from New York on board Norwegian Gem on September 28, 2012

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1-3-11 Disney Dream Arrives in Port Canaveral The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Disney Dream made its first appearance at its home base of Port Canaveral early Tuesday morning. The 130,000-ton ship is entered the channel at 6:30 a.m. and was visible from Brevard County's Jetty Park.

The official arrival time with an accompanying fanfare moment was 7:25 a.m. The Sentinel provides pictures and video on OrlandoSentinel.com. Reporters are at the scene and live Tweeting. (Follow them at @themeparks and @jason_garcia)

The Dream is Disney's third and largest cruise ship to date, with a capacity of 4,000 passengers. The maiden voyage begins Jan. 26. Disney's fourth ship, to be called the Disney Fantasy, will debut in spring 2012.

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1-3-11 NCL CEO Sheehan Adds $100,000 to Crew Fund for "Undercover Boss" During the show Undercover Boss featuring NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan four different crewmembers got special attention as a result of their interaction with the boss. But Sheehan wisely decided all of the crewmembers should benefit as a result of the television show, not just the ones who were involved with the shoot.

Sheehan also showed his appreciation for the crew across the line's 11 ships by making a $100,000 addition to the crew enrichment program during the show's finale which took place in front of more than 800 crew members on Pride of America in Hawaii. This gift to the crew was not a part of the episode aired by CBS on Sunday night.

The enrichment program is a fleet-wide initiative to support and enhance the welfare of the company's more than 14,000 crew members. This includes a variety of activities, equipment and events for the crew of each ship, such as DVD movies, sports equipment, parties, karaoke and entertainment, video game equipment and much more.

"Each of the four crew members that I worked with had incredible passion for their jobs, along with interesting personal stories and I enjoyed getting to know each of them," said Sheehan. "However, it's not just these four individuals that make Norwegian Cruise Line special. It's all of our employees, particularly the 14,000 crew members who are working hard every day to make our guests' experiences onboard special, so I wanted to make sure to do something that would benefit all the crew."

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