While I’ve been away at sea . . .

/, Cruise News/While I’ve been away at sea . . .

Looks like there’s been plenty going on in the cruise world while I’ve been relaxing in the Caribbean on board Eurodam.
Maybe there’s time to catch up with a few headlines while I sit in Miami Airport waiting for my flight home.
So what’s been happening?
Fred Olsen’s Balmoral has had a close encounter with pirates off the coast of Somalia, but beat them off by “aggressive manouevring,” sending up flares, and waving imitation guns – weapons carved from wood.
The 1,200 passengers, mostly British, were moved to safe havens on the ship until a US naval vessel arrived to escort them through the Gulf of Aden.
Following the scare, Italian cruise line MSC sent its ship Rhapsody on a 500 mile diversion to keep away from the Somali coast.
Meanwhile, In Palma de Mallorca, a passenger was thrown into the sea when the gangway to MSC Fantasia collapsed in high winds. The ship’s lines pulled three mooring bollards out of the ground and the vessel drifted away from the quay.
Four members of the ship’s crew, including a 52-year-old steward, have been praised for diving into the dock to rescue the passenger, who is in his 80s. The crewmen were taken to hospital for a check-up and are now back on duty. The passenger is recovering in hospital.
Port authorities have accepted responsibility for the failure of the mooring bollards.
In New Zealand, P&O’s Aurora, half-way through a 93-day world voyage, has been limping along with propulsion problems.
A damaged bearing has reduced the ship’s speed, causing cancellation of scheduled calls at Wellington and Napier. The vessel is now in Auckland, where the company – and no doubt the 2,000 passengers – are hoping repairs can be made to enable it to resume its normal schedule by Monday.
Cynics might suspect that P&O’s release of artists’ impressions of it’s newest ship, Azura, currently under construction in Italy, were a diversionary tactic.
The 3,100-passenger vessel, a sister for Ventura, will have an open-air cinema screen overlooking one of its three swimming pools, and Sindhu, an Indian restaurant masterminded by Atul Kochhar. The maiden voyage is scheduled for spring 2010.
Norwegian Cruise Lines have also released artists’ impressions of Epic, its giant new ship being built in France. It would be fair to say the reaction to what appears to be a top-heavy, towering lump has not been favourable. I’ll get some pictures up here next week so you can judge for yourselves.
Also coming up, Cunard have called a Press conference for Tuesday, March 17 to announce details of their next ship, Queen Elizabeth.
There are 600 workers at a shipyard near Venice currently involved in construction of the ship, and travel agents will be selling cruises even before the first blocks of the hull are placed in dry-dock at a keel-laying ceremony in June.

By | 2009-03-07T23:13:13+00:00 7 March 2009|Cruise Gossip, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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