Cruise ships make the headlines

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Gales blew my Scottish islands cruise off course last week, preventing planned visits to Iona and Staffa. Instead of risking stormy open waters off Mull, the plucky little Glen Tarsan of The Majestic Line sought shelter in the sea lochs of the west coast.
Not that the change of plan helped me find any internet access, so there’s lots of cruise news to catch up with this weekend.
And all the time I’m sitting at home watching impatiently as our American cousins and some of the UK’s top travel agents get first look at Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth. It will be tomorrow before I make the journey to Southampton for the naming ceremony and gala dinner on the ship.
If we are to believe Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, it’s not all fun being on board during the ship’s final preparations. No room service menu and breakfast service is over by 8.30 a.m. apparently, but she accepts that the thrill of being first on a new vessel outweighs the minor inconveniences.
So what’s been happening, and why have cruise ships and passengers been making newspaper headlines all week?
First off, Commander Bernard Warner was having to throw two passengers off the Queen Mary 2 after a row over anti-Semitic remarks.
Broadway producer Gloria Sher, 82 and her British husband Sir Frederick Evans, 91, got into an argument with other passengers during a formal night dinner, but she had apparently already been involved in an altercation when she was prevented from playing a piano.
They were confined to their Queen’s Grill suite without alcohol before being put ashore in New York.
Then Lord Sterling, boss of the company which runs Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean Island Cruises, upset ferry passengers and truckers by complaining that his cruise ships would have to share a new terminal with bare-chested lorry drivers stinking of BO.
Inspecting the new building, which is Portsmouth’s attempt to catch up with the lucrative cruise business dominated by near-neighbour Southampton, he was concerned that his pampered passengers paying up to £8,000 might trip up over “young people, looking to travel as cheaply as possible” on ferries to Spain.
The terminal’s operators played down his concerns, pointing out that separate check-in areas would be provided, and a more level-headed spokesman for his company, All Leisure Holidays, expressed their “delight” that there would be a “dedicated area” for cruise passengers.
With the benefit of looking back on the row after a few days, it all seems like a bit of a storm in a teacup – or perhaps a wine glass.
Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean have announced another big production musical is to be performed at sea. This time it’s Saturday Night Fever, which will be on the 3,600-passenger ship Liberty of the Seas, joining Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas, and Chicago, which will premiere on Allure of the Seas in November.
Passengers on Allure are also being offered the chance – for $50 a head – to take part in a 5k race in St Maarten during the ship’s maiden call at the Caribbean island, and to set records on the vessel’s 0.46-mile jogging track. Not surprising, given the fact that company president Adam Goldstein is as obsessed with running on the track as he is with running a fleet of 21 ships.
I’ll have to start running to catch up, and there will be more from me in the next few days on the Scottish adventure, and about the ceremonies on Queen Elizabeth.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:20+00:00 10 October 2010|Cruise Destinations, Cruise Entertainment, 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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