April 28, 2008
Several causes have been contributing to cruise traffic in Europe to flourish. In 2008, Europe will see a 15% increase of cruise traffic over the past year and is establishing the continent as a hot cruise destination.
The weak US dollar is certainly a major contributer to this trend. For those that pay in greenbacks, the weak dollar makes cruising in Europe affordable relative to vacations on land. And the same Dollar to Euro ratio is letting cruise companies fetch higher prices for their products in Europe.
This has led several companies to position more of their ships in European waters and for much longer periods of time. Royal Caribbean, for example, has chosen to position their newest and biggest ship, Independence of the Seas, in Europe rather than the Caribbean, and keeps Brilliance of the Seas in the area all year long.
Furthermore, European customers seem to be taking to cruising lately. While 3.5% of Americans take a cruise annually, only about 1% of Europeans do. Considering that Europeans have more vacation time available and spend more money on leisure, this is a potential that cruise lines can’t ignore.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Acropolis, or the gondolas in Venice, now is the time.
April 25, 2008
In the past the media has been very quick to report crimes that occurred on cruise ships even though ships are pretty safe. Only 206 criminal complaints have been filed between 2003 and 2005 although 31 million people sailed on cruise ships during that time period.
However, legislation was asked to require cruise lines to report crimes involving U.S. citizens to Homeland Security.
The House is expected to approve the legislation today.
April 24, 2008
Star Cruises Group, the company that owns Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has sold Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty for a combined $380 million to Cyprus Louis Group.
Both ships will complete their announced schedules before delivery. According to the company, the sale will improve on Star Cruises Group’s capital structure. Savings in interest expenses will be used for their hotel and casino project in the Philippines which the company announced on April 2nd, 2008.
April 15, 2008
If someone asks you to meet in Central Park in the near future, you will have to make sure you know which one they’re talking about! This is because there will be a whole new Central Park on a ship. That’s right, on a ship.
After Celebrity Cruises planted grass on Solstice, RCI is now taking this a step further and plant a whole park on one of their Genesis-class ships. The park will be surrounded by restaurants and 254 cabins will overlook the park.
The 225,000-ton ship will be 50% larger than the largest ship afloat today, RCI’s own Freedom-class ships, and will be able to accommodate 5,400 passengers. Make sure to pack an umbrella before you head out to the ship since the park will not be covered by a roof and thus left to battle the elements.
April 11, 2008
We now know the ship that got attacked by pirates earlier this month (see our article) was “Le Ponant”, the 288-foot sailing yacht belonging to “Compagnie des iles du ponant”.
We also know that 30 hostages, all crew, were taken but have been released by now. The ship is due in the port of Djibouti on Tuesday a spokesman for the compagnie explained on Friday, 4/11/08.
April 9, 2008
I’ll go with a classical music pick this time. This piece of music is from a wonderful CD recorded by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and has some refreshing and less-known music that may just add another jewel to your music collection.
The entire CD is absolutely worth getting since the selection of titles is such a nice collection of Scandinavia masterpieces, is very well executed and recorded with pristine quality.
Piece: Valflickans Dance (Dance of the Shepherdess from the ballet-pantomime “Bergakungen, Op. 37)
Orchestra: Swedish Radio Symphony under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen
Title of the CD: Nordic Festival
April 7, 2008
Yes that’s right, pirates are still around and they’re keeping busy. Although we hardly know any details about the latest attack because French authorities are keeping quiet, we do know that a French cruise ship was seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Friday, April 4th.
Piracy is an attack for financial gains. A similar attack for political or religious gains would be referred to as terrorism. Pirate attacks have tripled between 1993 and 2003. As a matter of fact, the first half of 2003 was the worst 6-months period on record, with 234 attacks, 16 deaths, and 52 people injured worldwide.
Even with U.S. Navy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, Somali pirates have been able to seize 12 cruise ships in 2007, a 10% increase from the previous year.
In November of 2005, Seabourn Spirit was attacked by pirates with rocket launchers and machine guns.