New bridge will limit cruise access to Norway’s second-longest fjord

A new bridge being constructed across Norway’s second-longest fjord will restrict cruise ship access to some of the country’s more remote and picturesque ports of call.
While smaller vessels such as Saga Pearl 2 (above) will still be able to travel the 179 km (110 miles) length of Hardangerfjord, towns like Eidfjord will become off-limits to some of the bigger ships which have been venturing into the fjords in recent years.
Costa Fortuna, for example, has cancelled calls from 2013; at its highest point the ship is 62 metres above the waterline, while the new Hardangerfjord bridge will have an average […]

Muppets launch new cruise career

The Muppets are about to launch a new career . . . at sea. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo the Great and Animal will lead a cast of 20 characters in an interactive game played out on magic paintings throughout cruise ship Disney Fantasy.
When the ship launches next March, passengers will get the chance to solve The Case of the Stolen Show by helping Kermit find his missing banjo, Animal track down his stolen drumsticks, and returning a lost cleaver to Swedish Chef.
Guided by a map and holding a unique game card in front of select pieces of […]

Bargain fever spreads to cruises

It was Black Friday in America yesterday – the day after Thanksgiving when some of the best deals of the year are available in stores and travel agents across the country.
Looks like the bargain fever is spreading across the Atlantic, with cruise companies keen to distract customers from the Christmas shopping and get them planning for next year’s holiday.
Virgin Cruises have announced a weekend sale with 10 per cent off new bookings for balcony cabins and suites on a host of cruises next year.
For example, book by Monday to grab a 10-night Emirates cruise-and-stay holiday departing next January […]

P&O brings in fixed-rate tipping

P&O Cruises has announced that it will automatically add £3.10 per day in tips to passenger accounts from next April.
It says the new policy on gratuities will make the “often confusing and sometimes awkward subject” of tipping clearer and easier for passengers.
The move has taken some by surprise, especially in view of the fact that just 12 months ago, managing director Carol Marlow was promoting P&O’s value-for-money by pointing out that unlike some of its competitors, the company did not automatically add tips.
Today she says: “Tipping has always been an integral part of the cruise experience but sometimes our […]

Does my bum look big in this?

As the new ducktail on Splendour of the Seas enters the water for the first time today, here are pictures of the similar extension which has been added to P&O’s Oriana. Seems like having a rear end like Beyoncé or J-Lo is the new fashion for cruise ships.
The work is taking place at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where the 16-year-old Oriana is being updated and adapted for adult-only use. Out goes the kids clubs and in come some new cabins and restaurants.
As with Splendour the additions, and advancing age, have added weight to the vessel […]

Rescue boat’s name is a thank-you to generous Olsen cruise passengers

The generosity of passengers cruising on Fred.Olsen ships – who have raised thousands of pounds for the RNLI – is to be recognised in the name of a new inshore lifeboat.
An Atlantic-class inshore rescue boat at the Kyle of Lochalsh station in north-west Scotland is to be called Spirit of Fred. Olsen.
The boat, like the ones in the video above, will go into service next month, and a naming ceremony is being planned for early in 2012.
Emma Martin, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s corporate partnerships manager, said: “We are incredibly proud of the RNLI and Fred Olsen partnership which […]

Cruising the Frozen Planet

TV’s Frozen Planet is encouraging viewers to get off their sofas, put on their coats, and head for the snowy wastelands. Sheer distance, higher costs and tightening legislation all combine to make it difficult to travel south to Antarctica, but the Arctic is closer, convenient, and affordable.
Responding to the Attenborough effect, Polar specialists Hurtigruten will be sending two ships to Spitsbergen next summer – its oldest and newest vessels.
Between June and August MS Nordstjernen (above) will travel the west coast of the island for a total of 21 five and six day itineraries. The ship, built in […]

Jurgen serenades Island Escape

The busiest man on board Splendour of the Seas during its dry dock is Jurgen Bailom (left); as Hotel Director in charge of Royal Caribbean’s $300 million fleet revitalisation programme he has to co-ordinate more than 1,000 workmen and 760 crew to ensure that everything is completed on time.
Making sure every square inch of 170 miles of new carpet has been laid; the cabins all have their new furniture and flat-screen TVs installed, and the kitchens for the five new restaurants are fitted and working involves constant chasing, intricate inspections and regular meetings.
The routine was broken a week […]

Carnival on call for Pudsey

Britain will go charity-crazy tonight for the annual fund-raising bonanza that is Children in Need. While Sir Terry Wogan, Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton host events in the BBC studios, volunteers across the country will be manning telephones and taking pledges from the public. Among them will be 140 call centre employees at Carnival UK’s HQ in Southampton who are more used to taking bookings from passengers planning to cruise with Cunard, P&O and Princess. Office staff were getting into the spirit of giving earlier today – no sign of Children In Need mascot Pudsey Bear, but Mr Blobby […]

Cheers! to cruise award winners

‘Tis the season for awards . . . every week seems to bring up a new list, and an avalanche of emails and press releases from cruise lines trumpeting their success.
The latest collection, from Cruise Critic, has something for pretty much everyone, not only because there are 25 categories, but are also because there are two whole sets – one for the UK and another for the US.
So while the best new cruise ship as far as we are concerned on this side of the Atlantic is Carnival Magic, the winner in the States is Disney Dream – and […]