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Celebrity Apex naming festivities postponed to later in the year

Celebrity Apex is shown heading from sea trials in February

Today Celebrity Cruises informed guests the naming will take place later this year in Fort Lauderdale. The ceremony had been set for March 30 with Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, as godmother.

Two-night inaugural events still a go

'We are beyond excited about introducing Celebrity Apex at the end of March and, as it stands today, we plan to move forward with our two two-night inaugural sailing events to celebrate her arrival into Southampton, the first ship Celebrity Cruises has launched in the UK in 10 years,' Celebrity President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said in a note.

'Karma and energy' important

'I believe the karma and energy around the naming of a ship and its godmother are important to its future, its guests and its crew,' she continued. 

'To that end, we believe that continuing with the naming ceremony in the current environment would be inconsistent with the spirit and intention of such an important and meaningful event. We have therefore made the difficult decision to postpone our formal naming ceremony until later this year and will name Celebrity Apex when she arrives in Fort Lauderdale to begin her Caribbean season.'

Enhanced screening

Enhanced screening measures for coronavirus are under way and Celebrity remains in constant consultation with global health authorities including the World Health Organization.

Lutoff-Perlo added: 'While we find ourselves in uncharted territory, as our captains will tell you, sooner or later everyone who sails into rough seas eventually sails into calmer waters.'

Fred Olsen playing to its strengths: ‘Small ships for a big world’

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Fred Olsen's md Peter Deer and marketing & sales director Jackie Martin at the 2021/22 worldwide brochure launch

Peter Deer, six months into his new position as managing director, shared his priorities including ensuring building a trust with the customer from booking through to sailing and beyond and playing to the company’s strength of operating smaller more intimate ships that can get closer to destinations.

Smaller ship benefits

‘A family-run company to this day for us, smaller ships bring big benefits, and we feel that we are just the right size for us. I don’t believe the big lines can do what we are doing,’ he said.

Jackie Martin marketing and sales director, who has been with the company for one year shared the company’s small-ship strengths: they can visit get much closer to destinations; guests can enjoy uncrowded experiences ashore, they can get on and off the ship easily; personal service and make less of an environmental footprint.

224 destinations

Martin Lister, head of planning and destinations outlined some of the highlights of the ‘new look’ 2021/22 worldwide brochure with Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch visiting 224 destinations in 73 countries, on 93 different itineraries, with durations between three and 153 nights, including 88 different areas of scenic cruising.

Complementing the UK departure ports of Southampton, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth), Fred. Olsen will also be offering an expanded programme of fly-cruises in 2021/22.

Lister added the 2021/22 ocean cruise programme will feature 12 maiden calls: Bluff and Picton in New Zealand; Crotone, Gallipoli, Milazzo and Monopoli in Italy; M’Diq in Morocco; Port d’Alcudia in Mallorca; Sandakan in Borneo; Savina in Formantera, in Spain’s Balearic Islands; Setubal in Portugal; and Trelleborg in Sweden.


Grand Princess coronavirus results awaited, all travelers are confined to rooms

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Grand Princess is pictured passing San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on a past cruise

The coronavirus testing involves a mix of passengers and crew. The ship is carrying 3,533 people, including 2,422 passengers and 1,111 crew. In total, they represent 54 nationalities.

US health officials earlier identified those who need to be tested before the ship is allowed to dock.

The number is fewer than 100 and includes all in-transit passengers from the prior cruise, after which two people were later found to have the virus. One died in a California hospital, the first person in the state to succumb to COVID-19.

Others to be tested are those who have experienced flu-like symptoms on the current cruise and those currently under care for respiratory illness.

USCG air drops testing kits

The US Coast Guard dropped sampling kits to the ship via helicopter on Thursday morning. Grand Princess is currently making its way toward the San Francisco Bay area. 

The Princess Cruises medical team is administering the test and samples are going in batches by helicopter to a lab in Richmond, across the bay from San Francisco.

No confirmed cases on board so far

Princess said there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board. Time will tell.

As earlier reported, Grand Princess will not be allowed to dock and disembark passengers until test results are received.

March 7 cruise canceled

The ship's March 7 Hawaii cruise has been canceled. Pasengers will receive a full refund and a 100% future cruise credit. 

Silversea eases cancellation policy

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Silver Muse

Cancellations before 30 days of sailing

Those who make new bookings on sailings departing between June and December, or booked passengers who are scheduled to travel during that period, will be able to cancel until 30 days prior to departure, paying only an administrative fee.

Canceling within 29 days to departure incurs a 100% penalty.

Assistance with other trip components

Additionally, Silversea said it will negotiate on customers' behalf for the same cancellation options on other components of the booking such as air travel, hotels and shore excursions. However, the line cautioned it does not have control over third-party suppliers so different terms may apply.

There are no changes to the payment terms.

Adam Goldstein exits Royal Caribbean, remains CLIA chairman

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Adam Goldstein is continuing in the high-profile role of global CLIA chairman

Coronavirus meeting with Mike Pence

In his CLIA guise he will be among the cruise leaders scheduled to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, who's in charge of the US response to coronavirus, on Saturday at Port Everglades.

'Countless contributions'

'Adam has made countless contributions to our company since the day he and I first walked through these doors in 1988,' said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

In a company memo, Fain outlined 'just of few' of Goldstein's notable accomplishments: electronic bookings of cruises for travel agents, expanding RCL’s marketing and deployment around the world, promoting cruises as active vacations for families, instituting guest-focused operating standards on board and bringing O3B bandwidth to the larger ships.

Wise, steady, focused

Throughout, Fain said, Goldstein has been 'the same leader and person we know today: wise, steady, focused on doing what is right and advancing our caring and ethical culture in word and in deed.'

He also mentored many executives who went on to become senior company executives.

'For all of us, working alongside Adam has been one of the privileges of the job,' Fain said.

Government relations and destination development

As vice chairman since May 2018, Goldstein has spearheaded RCL’s global government relations and destination development efforts and represented the company in industry associations. Before becoming global CLIA chairman in 2019, he had chaired the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.

Goldstein is expected to complete his two-year tenure in the high-profile CLIA role. He previously chaired the association in 2015-2016.

Earlier, Goldstein was president and COO of RCL, overseeing human resources, information technology, supply chain, corporate communications, safety and environment, government relations, guest port operations and commercial development.

Before that, he was president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International from November 2007 to April 2014, a challenging and dynamic period encompassing the development and introduction of the Oasis and Quantum classes.

A man for all seasons

Leading up to that job, Goldstein had held a wide range of positions — so many he was described as 'a man for all seasons' in a Seatrade Cruise Review profile. He led brand operations, total guest satisfaction (hotel operations), marketing and sales, and international.

An attorney, he had joined Royal Caribbean after work for Gotaas-Larsen, one of Royal Caribbean's three founding companies. He came to the cruise line as VP & corporate secretary before quickly taking on market development and then international sales and marketing — and just kept going from there. 

Seabourn savings, value-adds in two-month promotion

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Savings are available on select sailngs in 2020 and 2021 if booked by April 30

Sensational Suite Savings

The 'Sensational Suite Savings' are available for bookings made by April 30 on select 2020 and 2021 cruises.

The offers vary by voyage and may include any or all of these: veranda for ocean-view suite upgrade, up to three category veranda suite upgrade, up to $600 shipboard credit per suite, up to $1,000 air credit (or CAD$1,200) per person, an Internet package with up to 600 minutes per person, 50% reduced deposit.

Additional incentive for premium suites

As well, travelers booking a penthouse or premium suite on select sailings will receive up to $2,000 shipboard credit per suite and an unlimited Internet package per suite. 

Promotion details are here

Former MSC Opera passenger tests positive for coronavirus (updated)

Greek health authorities cleared the ship to continue to its next scheduled port of call, without restrictions

Austrian health authorities on Wednesday notified MSC Cruises that a man who'd sailed on MSC Opera Feb. 17-28 in the Mediterranean tested positive for coronavirus on March 3.

Returned to Austria through northern Italy

The Austrian man had returned directly home through northern Italy on Feb. 28 immediately after disembarking from his cruise in Genoa.

When MSC Opera arrived in Piraeus earlier today, Greek health authorities were informed about the case and reviewed the ship's full medical records as well as the medical and travel history records of the former traveler. Meanwhile, passengers remained on board.

Ship cleared by Greek health authorities

At around 1 p.m. CET the authorities gave MSC Opera permission to sail from Piraeus and continue to its next scheduled destination, Corfu.

No additional measures required

MSC Cruises said no additional health measures were required to be taken and the ship is currently sailing as planned. The company added no passengers or crew currently on board MSC Opera have reported any flu-like symptoms.

The ship is carrying 1,579 passengers and 723 crew.



Grand Princess will be held off California coast for coronavirus screening

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Passengers who were continuing from the prior cruise were instructed to remain in their cabins until cleared by the ship's medical staff

Grand Princess is returning early from a Hawaii trip as health officials looked into a 'small cluster' of coronavirus cases in Northern California linked to the previous sailing, Feb. 11-21.

First California death from coronavirus

A Placer County resident who died was likely infected while on the ship, becoming California's first COVID-19 fatality. He had underlying health issues. A Sonoma County resident who had been on the same trip also tested positive.

Newsom said 11 passengers and 10 crew on the current cruise were showing symptoms and that health officials would be boarding to make an assessment before Grand Princess is allowed to dock.

CDC investigation

Princess Cruises Chief Medical Officer Dr. Grant Tarling said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified the line today of the investigation. Grand Princess is skipping its planned Ensenada call in order to return to San Francisco Thursday afternoon.

Passengers who were continuing from the previous voyage — 62, according to Princess — and may have been exposed were required by the CDC to remain in their cabins until they were contacted and cleared by the ship's medical staff. The same goes for crew who may have been in close proximity to the travelers who later came down with the virus. 

Passengers on the previous cruise were being notified to contact their medical provider if they have experienced any symptoms of acute respiratory illness with fever, chills or cough since returning home.

Tarling said the CDC was continuing to collect information and meeting with Princess to determine what actions need to be taken now and on arrival in San Francisco. The line has shared travel and health data with the CDC to facilitate their standard notification to the state and county health authorities to follow up with individuals who may have been exposed to the people who became ill.

Close monitoring/enhanced sanitation

'We are closely recording and monitoring all persons who have reported to the medical center with cold and flu symptoms during the voyage. As a precaution, we are also conducting additional enhanced environmental disinfection on board in addition to our regular stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols,' Tarling said.

Passengers were instructed to immediately report any symptoms of acute respiratory illness to the medical center. Everyone was being provided free Wi-Fi and shoreside hotlines for family members were set up.

Disaster relief focus for Seatrade's Professional Women in Cruising Brunch

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The Professional Women in Cruising Brunch is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23 at the Miami Beach Convention Center

The April 23 event features an expert panel that will examine the framework for disaster recovery including first response, logistics, sustainability and philanthropy.

'Relief, Rebuild, Recover'

'Relief, Rebuild, Recover ... How the Cruise Industry Reacts to Natural Disasters' features Capt. JoAnn Burdian,  commander, Sector Miami,  US Coast Guard; Katherine Forbes-Smith, managing director, Bahamas Disaster Recovery Authority; Amanda Martin, director of communications, Mission Resolve; Rick Sasso, chairman, MSC Cruises USA; and Lisa Schillig, directorof port and terminal operations, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. Panel moderator is Anna Silva, acting assistant director of operations, Port Everglades.

Benefits Mercy Ships

Hosted in partnership with the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, the brunch event will benefit Seatrade Cruise Global’s longtime nonprofit partner, Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships delivers free, life-changing surgeries to some of the world's neediest people.

'Through the ongoing support of this group of inspiring women, Mercy Ships is able to empower, train and provide resources for other women in the most impoverished nations in the world to achieve their goals and make a lasting impact,' said Russ Holmes, director of corporate development for Mercy Ships. 'These contributions open doors for women such as Dr. Odry Agbessi, the first female plastic surgeon in her home country of Benin, who completed a mentorship program with Mercy Ships and now mentors other surgeons throughout sub-Saharan Africa and often returns to the Africa Mercy as a training volunteer.'

Social impact and sustainability

Social impact and sustainability are key themes of Seatrade Cruise Global. This year the Safety & Sustainability Theater returns with the latest on cyber, port and tour security systems, biometrics, monitoring and life-saving technologies. New for 2020, as part of the recently launched Seatrade Cruise Expeditions, the Expedition Cruising & Sustainability conference track will explore industry-wide environmental advances including sustainability technologies and innovations on board and ashore. Session topics will include the evolving expedition marketplace, eco-conscious cruising and sustainable tourism.

FCCA Foundation

Other annual philanthropic efforts at Seatrade Cruise Global include the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's signature fundraising event on April 22 to support the FCCA Foundation's humanitarian work in the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. The networking evening gathers leading cruise line executives and industry stakeholders.

Designing women panel

In additional women-oriented programming, a Designing Women Panel is set for April 22. Panelists include Francesca Bucci, president, BG Studio; Anne Mari Gulikstad, CEO, YSA Design; and Paris Swann, AVP, architectural design, Celebrity Cruises, newbuilding & innovation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Catherine Martin, editor of Starboard Magazine, is the moderator.

Information/registration for Seatrade Cruise Global, April 20-23 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, is here

US advises against nonessential travel to Italy, CLIA updates coronavirus protocols

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US cautions Americans on all travel to Italy while boarding is denied to people having traveled through certain regions

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 3 warning.

For some time, the US Department of State has also had in place a higher Level 4 warning not to travel to the Lombardy and Veneto regions, which have been quarantined.

A number of cruise lines have already been denying boarding to people who have traveled through those specific regions or had contact with anyone there. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., for example, does not allow those who have traveled through Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romana within the past 15 days. 

CLIA update

In its latest (March 4) update on coronavirus protocols, Cruise Lines International Association said member lines are denying boarding to anyone who has traveled from any municipality in Italy subject to quarantine by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within 14 days prior to embarkation.

This joins the existing 'deny boarding' policy to anyone who has traveled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days of embarkation.

Illness screening guided by CDC information

Additionally, CLIA said lines will conduct illness screening for all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the US CDC 'Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel' page within 14 days before embarkation.

Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and temperature-taking.

'With strict measures in place, as guided by national and international health authorities, CLIA and its member lines, in concert with pronouncements from the World Health Organization, do not believe restrictions on the movement of ships are justified,' the association added.