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Articles from 2015 In January

Habsburg descendant to name Uniworld’s Maria Theresa

Habsburg descendant to name Uniworld’s Maria Theresa

A direct descendant of Maria Theresa of the powerful Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty, Princess Anita von Hohenberg – great-granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg – will christen her ancestor’s namesake ship.

Princess Anita comes from a long line of Habsburgs, one of Europe’s oldest sovereign families, dating back to the 15th century. The much-beloved Maria Theresa, the archduchess of Austria and empress of the Holy Roman Empire, reigned from 1740 to 1780 as the only female ruler of the Habsburg Empire, as well as one of its most successful.

For the past three decades, Princess Anitahas served as the managing director and owner of the centuries-old Artstetten Castle and Estate in Lower Austria.

The former summer residence of the imperial family, the castle today is open to the public and serves as the final resting place of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este and his wife, Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, whose assassination in 1914 set off a chain of events that led to World War I.

Visitors from around the world come to see the castle each year, including many Uniworld guests, who are invited to tour the castle and crypt and share a glass of Champagne with Princess Anita at an exclusive private reception.

‘It’s a great honour for me to represent the Habsburg family in Amsterdam and to christen Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa, in honour of the great Maria Theresa,’ states Princess Anita von Hohenberg.

‘We are absolutely ecstatic to have Princess Anita von Hohenberg as the godmother of our newest ship,’ said Guy Young, president of Uniworld.

Facilities on board Maria Theresa will include a main lounge with full-service bar, the Bar du Leopard, restaurant, terrace, sun deck, heated swimming pool, fitness centre, Serenity River Spa, boutique, 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar, free Internet and Wi-Fi access and a cinema.

The staterooms and suites (with French balconies on the Main and Upper decks) will feature handcrafted Savoir of England beds, while marble bathrooms include L’Occitane en Provence products, plush towels, bathrobes and slippers.

Maria Theresa will cruise the Danube River Budapest to Amsterdam, a 15-day all-inclusive itinerary with prices from £3,599 per person. She will also serve the line’s ‘Tulips & Windmills’ itinerary as well as offering a Christmas markets cruise later in the year.

Magna Carta facsimile to be displayed on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria

Robert Key at Salisbury Cathedral with the Magna Carta facsimile

As the shipping line continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary year, Salisbury Cathedral will be lending a rare facsimile of its Magna Carta, one of only four of the original 1215 documents in existence, to Cunard.

The facsimile will be displayed in the Grand Lobby of Queen Mary 2 from early May until September 2015, with a six night sojourn aboard Queen Victoria in late May.

Robert Key, chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral 2015 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Board, and a member of the National Magna Carta 800th Committee will be escorting the copy of Salisbury’s Magna Carta during crossings aboard the two vessels.

Cunard and the Magna Carta share some interesting history. During WW2, the Lincoln Magna Carta, one of the four originals, was moved to Washington DC for safe-keeping. In January 1946 it began its journey home, first to New York and then on board Queen Elizabeth for the voyage to Southampton.  The ship’s Captain, Commodore Sir James Bisset, kept the metal box containing the precious document in the safest place he could think of for the duration of the crossing – under his bed!

The Magna Carta facsimile will join Queen Mary 2 from 10 May and will stay on board until 11 September 2015. It will be transferred to Queen Victoria for a short period, 26-28 May, part of the ship’s Liverpool Salute sailing 22-28 May 2015.  On 25 May 2015, all three Queens will sail together into the Liverpool, the spiritual home of Cunard, for the first time.

Robert Key at Salisbury Cathedral with the Magna Carta facsimile

Carnival appoints US Navy veteran to nautical, safety role

Carnival appoints US Navy veteran to nautical, safety role

He replaces Richard O'Hanlon, who held the job for about a year and left last March.

Miller oversees all aspects of maritime safety and nautical operations for the 24-ship fleet, including marine compliance, quality assurance, environmental functions and operational safety. All shipboard deck and bridge personnel, including captains, report to him. 

'Rick’s wide-ranging experience and expertise will be of great benefit as we strive for excellence in the critical areas of safety, compliance, ship operations and environmental responsibility, among others,' said Rubén Rodríguez, evp ship operations.

Miller served in a variety of positions within the Navy, including commanding officer/captain of a guided missile destroyer and executive officer/staff captain of a guided missile cruiser. He also held several shoreside positions within the Navy, including managing shipbuilding and repair budgets and, most recently, serving as chief of operations for US Southern Command, responsible for directing all Department of Defense operations in South and Central America and the Caribbean region.

Miller has extensive experience in bridge resource management programs, oversight of damage control, operational and incident risk management, occupational and environmental safety programs, and vessel security. His seagoing experience has taken him throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in ocean engineering from the United States Naval Academy, master’s degrees in international affairs and national security studies, and is working toward completing Ph.D. requirements in political economy.

Bipartisan Senate bill would end US Cuba travel ban

Bipartisan Senate bill would end US Cuba travel ban

S. 299 was introduced by Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona.

'For 50 years, we have tried the current policy of prohibiting travel to Cuba, and it hasn’t worked. It’s time for something new: It’s time to allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba,' Flake said Thursday. 'I’m pleased to be joined by my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and I look forward to working with them to pass this long-overdue legislation.'

Flake said Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) plan to introduce a companion bill to S. 299 in the House of Representatives next week.

The American Society of Travel Agents applauded the legislation.

'ASTA has long believed that Americans ought to be allowed to travel across the globe without restriction, allowing them to act as ambassadors of freedom and American values abroad,' ASTA president and ceo Zane Kerby said. 'While the Administration’s recent actions on Cuba were a step in the right direction, it is Congress that needs to step up to the plate on travel freedom.'

Kerby praised the leadership from Senators Flake, Leahy and their bipartisan coalition, adding: 'We will do everything in our power to get this bill across the finish line.'

USCG publishes final rule on Notices of Arrival and AIS

USCG publishes final rule on Notices of Arrival and AIS

This final rule amends the applicability of notice of arrival requirements to include additional vessels, sets a mandatory method for electronic submission of Notices of Arrival and modifies related reporting content, time frames and procedures.

Additionally, the final rule extends applicability of AIS requirements beyond Vessel Traffic Service areas to all US navigable waters and requires that additional commercial vessels install and use AIS.

USCG said these changes will improve navigation safety, enhance the Coast Guard's ability to identify and track vessels and heighten overall maritime domain awareness.

The final rule takes effect March 2, with certain noted exceptions.

Cruise Shipping Miami highlights trends, hot topics, new cruise leaders

Cruise Shipping Miami highlights trends, hot topics, new cruise leaders

The 31st edition of Cruise Shipping Miami, organized by UBM Connect, is scheduled for March 16-19 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The conference, developed by Seatrade Communications, will open March 17 with the State of the Industry session, with participants to be announced in the coming weeks.

This year there are sessions devoted to new topics like 'Open Decks, Water Parks, Fitness & Spas: What's New in Active, Family and Wellness Areas' and 'In the Galley and Behind the Bar: The Latest Trends in Hotel Operations/Food and Beverage.'

Plus, new cruise line leaders, such as Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, will be debuting as speakers at the industry's largest annual event.

Ashford will take part in 'The State of the Cruise Industry: North and South America,' one of the conference's four regional-focused sessions. His fellow panelists are new Celebrity Cruises president and ceo Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz and Roberto Fusaro, managing director, South America, MSC Cruises, and chairman, CLIA/ABREMAR (the Brazilian Cruise Association).

The other regional-focused sessions delve into 'The Future of the Caribbean and How it is Being Reshaped,' 'The State of the Cruise Industry: Europe' and 'The State of the Cruise Industry: Asia/Australasia—Will China Transform Cruising?'

Scheduled Asia/Australasia panelists include Alan Buckelew, chief operations officer, Carnival Corp. & plc; Dominic Paul, svp international, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, and managing director, RCL Ltd.; Ann Sherry, ceo, Carnival Australia, and chairman, CLIA Southeast Asia; Gavin Smith, managing director, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia, and chairman, CLIA Australasia; and Jan Swartz, president, Princess Cruises.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises, and chairman, CLIA Europe, will open the Europe-focused session with a keynote address. Panelists include Kyriakos 'Kerry' Anastassiadis, ceo, Louis Cruises; David Dingle, chairman, Carnival UK, and vice chairman, CLIA Europe; Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, chairman, Silversea Cruises; Gianni Onorato, ceo, MSC Cruises; Michael Thamm, ceo, Costa Crociere; and Dominic Paul, svp international, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, and managing director, RCL Ltd.

Speakers for the Caribbean panel are to be announced.

Further sessions will delve into enhanced safety measures at sea and in port; trends and challenges in marketing, sales and distribution; energy efficiency on board and ashore, the upscale cruise market, specialty cruising—opportunities and challenges in the expedition, coastal, inland and river cruise sectors; and staying ahead of public health issues.

Additional panels include how leaps in broadband connectivity may transform cruising, cultivating millennial and multigenerational markets, thinking outside the box on itineraries and shore excursions, and newbuilding and refurbishment.

Cruise Shipping Miami information is here, and conference sessions, with ongoing speaker updates, are outlined here.


Cuba Cruise offers ways for US citizens to cruise to Cuba now

Cuba Cruise offers ways for US citizens to cruise to Cuba now

Cuba Cruise's US partners are Road Scholar and InsightCuba. Or, travelers who wish to book with the line directly can register for a People-to-People Cuba Cruise program with the US nonprofit organization Fund for Reconciliation and Development (FFRD).

'Our People-to-People Cuba Cruise program qualifies for the general license and is designed to immerse US travelers in Cuban culture and history,' said John McAuliff, executive director of FFRD and coordinator of the Cuba/US People to People Partnership. 'The exclusive cruise program circumnavigates the island, fostering genuine interaction and cultural exchange both ashore and on board.'

Educational activities available include Cuban-led dance and Spanish workshops; one-on-one cultural exchanges with Cuban crew and performers; day-trips to historical places of interests like Biran (the birthplace of Fidel Castro), Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos; and shipboard lectures and film screenings delivered by a University of Havana professor.

By joining the FFRD group on the cruise, US citizens will receive a participant letter from the organization authorizing travel to Cuba under the new general license for people-to-people travel. The process involves booking Cuba Cruise directly online ( or through a travel agent.

Then passengers register for FFRD’s People-to-People group travel program online here and receive a participant letter of authorized travel.

All visitors to Cuba require a Cuba Tourist Card, which can be obtained from most airlines flying to Havana or from Cuba Cruise on departure from Montego Bay. Travelers must provide proof of travel health insurance and passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of departure.

In partnership with Road Scholar and InsightCuba, both licensed and registered with the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, Cuba Cruise has and continues to host groups of Americans on board since December 2013. During those comprehensive 12- or 13-day programs, Americans spend five nights aboard Louis Cristal, embarking from Cienfuegos and visiting destinations around the island such as Isle of Youth, Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba.

Information about traveling on Louis Cristal with Road Scholar is here, while information about InsightCuba is here.

'We are experts at hosting both American and international travelers in Cuba,' said Cuba Cruise president and ceo Dugald Wells. He added that passengers can discover the country’s rich culture and history and engage with Cubans from a variety of backgrounds, including musicians, dancers, service staff and academics.

'We are very proud to offer a safe, simple and comfortable way to experience Cuba and we cannot wait to welcome more Americans on board,' Wells said.

Rates for the seven-night People-to-People Cuba Cruise, sponsored by the FFRD, start at CAD$782, plus port fees (CAD$178) and the cost of registration (US$75). Weekly departures from Jan. 30 to March 23 are available. Passengers can embark at Montego Bay or Havana.


Fred Olsen showcases longer cruises

Fred Olsen showcases longer cruises

The brochure includes holidays to the Adriatic, Greenland, Norway, New York, Canada, the Caribbean and Brazil.

The company is offering a 10% discount off the price of the cruise if booked before March 2, 2015 and up to 30% off if two cruises are booked at the same time. Alternatively guests can choose free door-to-door transfers on selected cruises if they live within 250 mainland miles of the departure port.

Some of the cruises featured are Balmoral’s 35-night voyage to the American Deep South, departing from Southampton on September 14, 2015. Balmoral will call at into Sydney, Nova Scotia, Boston, Salam in Massachusetts - a maiden call for Fred. Olsen then onto New York for an overnight. Balmoral then makes two further maiden calls: first is Charleston and then Savannah, plus Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Nassau, then on the return leg stopping in St. George, Bermuda, Ponta Delgada in the Azores before arriving in Southampton.

Black Watch’s 25-night Adriatic cruise, departing from Liverpool on April 13, calls in Gibraltar, Cartagena, Catania, Kerkira, Kotor, Hvar, Venice(overnight), Split, Dubrovnik, Valletta, Algiers, Cadiz before Black Watch sets sail for Liverpool. 

Fincantieri sets up new company focussing on electronic systems solutions

Fincantieri sets up new company focussing on electronic systems solutions

Claudio Andrea Gemme is appointed president and ceo of Fincantieri SI.

The new company, relying on the in-house experience and top-level technological know-how gained by Fincantieri over the years, will strengthen the group's presence in high added-value activities in the field of industrial systems.

Fincantieri SIis the response to Fincantieri’s strategy of increasing its presence in the electric and electronic components and integration segment, developing solutions that can manage and control all the key functions of a ship, ensuring high performance levels in terms of energy efficiency, comfort and safety.

Through the new company, Fincantieri will be able to manage the entire integrated electric package, offering ship owners a turnkey product ranging from the most sophisticated propulsion systems to on-board electric auxiliary systems.  

In particular, Fincantieri SI will concentrate on the design and realization of the ‘smart ship’, characterised by high energy efficiency hence reduced consumption and lower environmental impact; space optimization with ensuing benefits for ship owners in terms of more passenger-dedicated areas; greater comfort thanks to less noise pollution and vibrations as well as integration with complete onshore electricity connections.

With a view to providing an integrated product, thanks to the installation of remote control&monitoring systems, the “smart vessel” can undergo preventive maintenance, thus maximising operations and therefore avoiding extraordinary maintenance costs.

A key feature of the new company will be the supply of after-sales service, that is the service and maintenance of electric systems to follow the entire lifecycle of the ship.

Commenting on the newly set-up company, Giuseppe Bono, ceo of Fincantieri, remarked: ‘In a globalized world, to be winners and anticipate competitors, companies must be pioneers focusing on innovation, flexibility and dynamism. As of today, Fincantieri has taken a further step in its strategy of group diversification in highly promising sectors.’

Adam Goldstein to open cruise3sixty Australasia

Adam Goldstein joins a lineup of industry heavyweights at cruise3sixty Australasia 2015

It was to have been delivered by former CLIA global president and ceo, Christine Duffy, who takes up her new appointment as president of Carnival Cruise Line on February 1.
Duffy presided over the inaugural cruise3sixty Australasia last year, the first to be held outside of North America.  
Goldstein, president and coo of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., will be welcomed by Royal Caribbean International’s regional vp Asia Pacific, Gavin Smith, who is chairman of CLIA Australasia.
CLIA Australasia gm Brett Jardine said the organisation is delighted that Goldstein will attend the conference. 
‘With almost 30 years in the cruise industry and a decade at the helm of Royal Caribbean, Adam has a wealth of cruise knowledge to share with delegates,’ Jardine said.
Andy Stuart, evp international sales for Norwegian Cruise Line, and Google Australia’s head of travel and tourism, Ross McDonald, are guest speakers, with a lineup of industry executives taking part in panel discussions.