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Oceania rolls out Europe brochure, savings

Oceania rolls out Europe brochure, savings

For a limited time, Oceania expanded its free airfare offer from 20 North American gateways to more than 100 and is offering two-for-one cruise fares that start at $2,299 per person.

The line is known for overnight stays in port, and as many as five in one voyage will be offered in Europe next year.

Other 2009 highlights include a new 14-day Egypt and Israel itinerary sailing from Barcelona to Istanbul that also calls at Tunisia, Malta, Greece and Cyprus, and the Fifth Annual Oceania Club Reunion Cruise, a 12-day voyage from Civitavecchia to a dozen ports and featuring special members-only events and excursions.

Regatta returns to Scandinavia and Russia, and sails to Norway and the British Isles for the first time. A 12-day Norwegian Fjords and British Isles cruise sails round-trip from Dover and calls at Edinburgh, Invergordon, Alesund, Hellesylt, Belfast, Dublin, Waterford and Fowey.

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Bureau Veritasapos; Cleanship notation for MSC Fantasia

Bureau Veritasapos; Cleanship notation for MSC Fantasia

The assessment covers both the design and build of the ship, currently being fitted out at Aker Yards France, and also operations worldwide.

The Cleanship Advanced Wastewater Treatment notation from BV acknowledges that the ship is installed with means to prevent, as far as possible, all polluting sources into the sea and air. For example, a Scanship multistage advanced wastewater purification system will convert raw sewage into clean effluent by treating black and grey water produced on board. Up to 98% of the treated wastewater can them be pumped directly overboard in compliance with the most stringent regulation standards (currently Alaska's), notes Bureau Veritas.

The 133,500gt ship contains the latest generation of oily water separators and additional bilge water tank capacity to allow more than two days' operation of the ship in non-discharge conditions. On the air emission front the Wärtsilä diesel engines will use low sulphur fuel and are certified for NOx emission control in accordance with latest IMO-Marpol Annex VI requirements.

During a tour of the inner belly of sistership MSC Splendida on Monday, Aker Yards France md Jacques Hardelay pointed out that the environmentally friendly technology installed on the Fantasia-class pair has to cope with up to 3,959 passengers and 1,325 crew making it the largest populated ship the yard has constructed.

Bureau Veritas recently finished an ISO 22000 certficiation audit on all nine of the MSC Cruises fleet related to food safety management and also ISO 14001 for the company's environmental management system and is due to complete a fleetwide audit of the company's safety management system (OHSAS 18001) by the end of this month. Extensions for all three standards are planned for the company's three ships still under construction.

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New look for Club Med 2

New look for Club Med 2

The work will take place in Genoa from October 4-30.

Sophie Jacqmin, an interior designer who has worked with Club Med before, is responsible for the new décor which is inspired by accounts of explorers' adventures.

All 185 suites will be redesigned plus 10 36sq mtr cabins added. Totally restructured, the 110sq mtr spa will be linked with top brand Carita and offer a hammam and hairdresser whereas the new fitness centre will be under the Club Med Gym banner.

The two restaurants - also to be renovated - are to be renamed Le Méditerranée and Le Magellan. A new setting is also planned for the main lounge, the Salon Pacific.

As for services, champagne (served only at the bar) is to be included in the cruise price and WiFi will be available on board.

Club Med 2 will depart for her Atlantic crossing on October 31. Forty-six ports in the Caribbean and Latin America are scheduled during winter 2008/09, with departures mainly from Fort de France and Pointe à Pitre. New for April 2009: a Cuba-Mexico itinerary, with two turn around cruises from Havana.

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Vago: MSC geared up for 50% capacity increase

Vago: MSC geared up for 50% capacity increase

'By the end of 2008 we will have the most modern fleet in the world,' claimed MSC Cruises ceo Pierfrancesco Vago this week during a press conference to celebrate the floating out of MSC Splendida.

'However I am not in pursuit of leadership related to the number of ships or lower berths but rather in terms of proficiency and service offered to our guests,' he added.

'I believe our future success lies in offering an eco-friendly product with high levels of technical efficiency plus no queues for passengers,' outlined Vago who is paying special attention to these two areas on the new Fantasia-class newbuilds, the biggest the company has ordered so far.

Speaking about the waste management technology on board Vago quipped how amusing that a Neopolitan company is showing the world how to treat garbage.

MSC Fantasia, purpose-built for year-round Med operation, is the first of two newbuilds designed by the brand for this market. 'We are not looking for the sun but a quality experience which will spread across the board right up to the 99 suites in the VIP MSC Yacht Club.' With a lead-in price of £1,500 per person Vago believes this all-inclusive product 'ship within a ship' offers good value for money and a luxury product for a premium price. 'It is not our intention to discount on the VIP area,' he told Seatrade Insider, 'and the children sailing free policy, adopted elsewhere in this ship and fleet-wide will not apply here,' he confirmed.

Having a much larger ship has also enabled MSC to implement some new features including a pool with sliding roof, an Aqua Park, a Formula 1 simulator, 4D interactive cinema, squash court, dedicated teenagers' disco and an aft pool adults-only area with bar and a la carte French restaurant.

MSC Fantasia will operate from Genoa starting December and MSC Splendida, arriving next summer, will sail seven-day itineraries in West Med whilst Fantasia switches to East Med in the summer. 'Having one ship in the West Med and one in the East Med enables us to have our two newest ships on the two main high volume demand itineraries,' remarked Vago.

He believes there is still huge potential for growth in Europe (both Med and North/Baltics). 'We are not currently looking to develop new destinations although with 12 ships at the end of next year we will be able to put ships into emerging markets when we believe they are ready to take more capacity.'

Keeping a close eye on making sure queuing does not become an issue on the larger capacity ships both for on-board services and during embarkation/disembarktion, on the latter issue, Vago says he is happy with the way Mediterranean ports are moving both on port side and land side operations, 'which will be vital with up to 4,000 passengers coming ashore on each visit,' he added.

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Crystalapos;s $1,300 apos;ultimate wine experienceapos;

Crystalapos;s $1,300 apos;ultimate wine experienceapos;

24 Mediterranean cruise.

Decanter magazine's 2008 'Man of the Year' Christian Moueix is bringing these and other wines from his private collection for the $1,300 per person event, available for 14 people.

Three-star Michelin chef Heinz Beck of Rome's La Pergola is collaborating on a menu that includes his signature fagottelli 'La Pergola,' carpaccio of scallops on amaranth grain and black corn with ginger oil and crépinette of lamb.

The dinner can only be purchased on board and will be served in Crystal Serenity's Vintage Room.

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NTSB: Masterapos;s decision led to Alaska grounding

NTSB: Masterapos;s decision led to Alaska grounding

m.

The third mate wasnot familiar with the route, the vessel's handlingcharacteristics or the bridge equipment.

'The flawed decision-making in this accident created the potential for a catastrophic disaster,' said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. 'Those in leadership positions need to make sure they consider every option possible when making critical decisions that could put lives at risk.'

During yesterday's public hearing on the incident, investigators said the master could have taken a number of actions to ensure safety, including taking the watch himself.

Majestic America Line's Empress of the North grounded on a charted rock 20 miles southwest of Alaska on May 14, 2007. The vessel was negotiating a turn out of LynnCanal into Icy Strait on its way to Glacier Bay when it struck Rocky Island, which was illuminated by a flashing green navigation light.

The ship was carrying 206 passengers and 75 crew. Passengers and non-essential crew were safely evacuated. Empress of the North sustained damage to its starboard underside and propulsion system. Investigators said 52.5m tons of steel were used in repairs.

In the NTSB's report, adopted on Tuesday, the board noted that because of a senior third mate's illness, the master replaced him with the new junior third mate, who held an unlimited, any-ocean third officer's license but had never stood watch on the vessel or traveled the waters of Lynn Canal.

The board said the master had ample time to consider the watchkeeping assignment but investigators found no evidence he weighed other options.

The NTSB recommended that state and U.S. maritimeacademies use the circumstances of the accident to teach students about their responsibilities as newly licensed officers and advised thePassenger Vessel Association to inform members about the incident.

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Nierenberg joins Orient Lines as evp

Nierenberg joins Orient Lines as evp

He also will oversee product development.

'Bruce Nierenberg is uniquely qualified and highly regarded for his achievements and creativity,' said Wayne Heller, the line's president and ceo. 'We look forward to him playing a major leadership role in guiding Orient Lines towards growth and continued success in the years ahead.'

Nierenberg gets credit for the industry's first mega cruise ship, Norway; the first 'out' island, Great Stirrup Cay; the first nationwide air/sea program; and the first computerized reservations system, all while at Norwegian Cruise Line (then Norwegian Caribbean Line).

At SeaEscape he marketed the 'cruise-to-nowhere,' and as founder of Premier Cruise Lines, he created the first Disney World cruise-tour packages.

Over the past few years Nierenberg has been a consultant on a number of projects. Prior senior management posts include president of Delta Queen Steamboat Co. from 2003 to 2006, president and ceo of Costa-North America and American Family cruise lines from 1992 to 1994, and founder and partner of Premier from 1983 to 1991.

Nierenberg, who recently relocated to Orlando, the new headquarters of Orient Lines, began his career in 1973 and held positions as evp, vp marketing, sales and passenger service and director of marketing and director of sales.

Heller last month announced he had acquired the rights to the Orient Lines name and said he aims to revive the brand by buying ships in the 600- to 800-passenger range that are 'rich in history and character.'

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Cruise West touts specialty Mexico sailings

Cruise West touts specialty Mexico sailings

The program operates aboard the 138-passenger Spirit of Yorktown with 14 departures, including five specialty cruises and a post-cruise excursion to benefit a children's home in Baja, Mexico.

The specialty itineraries include John Steinbeck-inspired sailings with literary experts, a PENTAX photography cruise with professional photographers and two holiday itineraries with traditional Mexican Christmas and New Year's festivities.

After a week on board the cruise sailing March 7, 2009, passengers can choose to disembark in La Paz to assist in a 'work party' at the La Paz Children's Home, part of Cruise West's 'Our Bear Cares' program and created in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, the travel organizer for the World Affairs Councils of America.

Volunteers will spend two nights in La Paz with one full day working at the children's home. The excursion is $225 per person, double occupancy.

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Cruisecoapos;s exclusive offer for Rhapsody of the Seas

Cruisecoapos;s exclusive offer for Rhapsody of the Seas


Royal Caribbean International's 2,435-passenger ship is returning to Sydney for an extended season that runs from October until April next year and includes a circumnavigation of Australia, as well as cruises to New Zealand and the South Pacific.


First person fares for the 28-night voyage, which calls at Victoria, Astoria, Lahaina, Nawiliwili, Kona, Hilo, Honolulu, Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Lautoka, range from A$5,990 (US$5,846). The price includes port charges, government taxes and on-board gratuities.


Cruiseco is also offering optional land packages in Vancouver. They start at A$179 (US$174) for one pre-cruise night per person twin-share at the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa and airport/hotel/ship transfers.

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Months early, Costa Maya is ready to go

Months early, Costa Maya is ready to go

After the Category 5 storm destroyed a large portion of the pier and the landside facilities on Aug. 21, 2007, an independent Mexican engineering firm estimated it would take at least a year to rebuild.

As it turned out, Berths 1 and 2 were completed on May 15, months ahead of the projection. Landside facilities and the nearby town of Majahual are also ready for visitors, according to Cesar Lizarraga, marketing director of the port.

The first ship is not scheduled to return until Oct. 31, but Costa Maya officials are actively talking with lines in the hope that calls can resume earlier.

The privately owned port spent $14m to rebuild the pier and landside facilities. Mexico's federal government gave financial aid to Majahual, which went into burying the electrical lines, adding new street lighting and sewage facilities and a patterned boardwalk, among other upgrades.

'This is a very nice improvement for the cruise passengers,' Lizarraga said. In addition, the beach will be kept free of informal vendors to create a more relaxing environment.

Lizarraga also told Seatrade Insider that tours are coming back 'bigger and better,' with capacity increasing by as much as 50% on some of the more popular excursions such as Jeep and dune buggy adventures and Chacchoben ruins.

Plus, there are new tours to the ecotourism park of Uchbenkah (also known as Pueblo Viejo or Old Town), near the northern tip of Bacalar Lagoon, and BioMaya Bacalar, a zip-line tour.

The Oct. 31 call is by Holland America's Westerdam. Lizarraga said Costa Maya plans an official reopening ceremony later in the autumn.

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