A+ A A-

Norwegian Breakaway to feature company's largest children's and teens' areas

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Norwegian Cruise Line’ says its newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will debut the largest youth and teen dedicated facilities in the fleet. For the first time, the youth area, named Splash Academy, will span two decks that are conveniently located adjacent to the family- friendly staterooms and feature areas designed specifically for three specific age groups. Teens will have their own dedicated space as well, Entourage, located at the top of the ship on Deck 16. Babies and toddlers under age three, along with their parents, will also have their own dedicated play space with activities.


“The best family vacation will get even better when our new ship Norwegian Breakaway launches in April of next year,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We know how extremely important it is for families to offer engaging, interactive programs for children and teens in a comfortable, well-equipped environment. Norwegian Breakaway will incorporate our biggest youth facilities with the best youth programming at sea with our new Splash Academy and Entourage programs.”


Splash Academy is centrally located on Decks 12 and 13 adjacent and easily accessible to the family-friendly staterooms. The reception area, located on Deck 12, is in close proximity to the forward elevators. As parents enter, they will utilize Norwegian’s e-Youth tablet-based electronic registration which allows them to swipe their keycard and input a password to sign in their children. Just past the brightly-colored and welcoming reception area, the three to five year olds will have their own space decorated with vibrant, engaging colors along with child-sized furniture. Wall mounted activities will keep little hands busy in between organized programming. In a separate area decorated with fun graphics to captivate children’s imaginations, the six to nine year olds will enjoy building block activity centers. An interactive dance mat with corresponding large video screen will encourage lots of activity. In addition, a dedicated space houses popular video game stations, along with a relaxing video viewing lounge.


Upstairs on Deck 13, the 10 to 12 year olds will have their own space designed specifically for older children. It will include a multipurpose visual dance space with a touch screen jukebox, plenty of moveable tables for activities and comfortable bean bags for lounging. An activity zone will include everything needed for arts and crafts and more. There is also a “hang out” area with dedicated gaming stations that will feature the latest video games. Rounding out the space will be a cool and comfortable lounge area with sofas and chairs in vibrant colors creating the perfect atmosphere to chill out.


Entourage is Norwegian Breakaway’s high energy, exclusive teen zone for ages 13 through 17, located on Deck 16. This hip,

sophisticated area was designed to give teens their own funky space that includes air hockey; foosball; and an arcade center with five separate areas featuring large screens to play the latest video games while lounging on comfy sofas. In the evening, Entourage transitions into a teens-only nightclub with a dance floor, large screen television and music, including a video jukebox. Entourage has the advantage of being located next to the video arcade and a step away from an outdoor eatery and refreshment area to round out the teens’ experience.


Pumping oil from Costa Concordia to be completed 23 March

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Costa Crociere, the Municipality of Giglio Island and the Costa Concordia Emergency Commissioner’s Office have announced that the operations to remove the fuel from the Costa Concordia are due to be completed on Friday 23 March.


Defueling, which was carried out by experts from the Neri/Smit Salvage team hired by Costa Crociere, began at 5pm on 12 February and continued around the clock whenever the sea and weather conditions were favorable.


The removal of the oil from 17 tanks of the ship is expected to be completed during the night of Friday 23 March.


The removal has been performed using a system of pumps and valves. “Hot tap” valves were attached to the side of the ship, a hole was drilled into the tank and a pipeline was attached. This enabled the oil to be heated and pumped out while sea water was pumped in so as to maintain the ship’s stability. Minimal physiological amounts of fuel cannot be pumped out from the bulkheads of the tanks; but they are in such small quantities as to pose no significant environmental risk.


Once the oil has been successfully pumped out of the tanks and ahead of finalization of the wreck removal plan, attention will focus on the caretaking operations.  The intention is to guarantee environmental monitoring and protection with the assistance of experts using dedicated means and resources, and to clean up the seabed and the area around the hull. Caretaking will be conducted once again by Neri/Smit Salvage technical staff appointed by Costa Crociere and will last one to two months.


With regard to the removal of the ship, the six working plans submitted by the 3 March deadline are currently being evaluated. A shortlist is being drawn up and the best plan will be selected and announced in early to mid-April.


All the plans submitted are of a very high standard and all prioritize the need to minimize the environmental impact, protect Giglio’s economy and tourism industry, and guarantee safety.


The operation to remove the wreck will be a particularly complex one and is expected to take from 10 to 12 months, depending on which tender is chosen.

Viking River Cruises christens first four new Viking Longships

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Marking a landmark year of innovation and expansion, Viking River Cruises (, the world’s leading river cruise line, yesterday christened the first four of its new Viking Longships at a spectacular event in Amsterdam. Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of the PBS series "Masterpiece," which includes the hit show "Downton Abbey," and Joanna Lumley, the British actress famous for her role as "Patsy Stone" on "Absolutely Fabulous," joined the celebration as the ceremonial godmothers for the Viking Freya and Viking Odin. Renowned Harvard physicist Dr. Lisa Randall and Viking’s most traveled passenger, Gail Wiswedel, served as godmothers for Viking Idun and Viking Njord.

"As we celebrate our 15th anniversary in 2012, we’re proud to say this is the biggest day in our company’s history. The christening of four new Viking Longships is the first step toward an exciting new horizon in our future," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. "By the end of 2013, we will have launched an unprecedented 12 new Viking Longships in two years, and today we are thrilled and honored to have had such an eminent and sophisticated group of women helping us christen the first four of those vessels."

The christening of the four new Viking Longships represents the first time in modern history that four cruise ships have been christened at once, with Viking Odin and Viking Idun christened in Amsterdam and Viking Njord and Viking Freya christened via satellite from the Neptun shipyard in Germany.

Guests at the christening ceremony enjoyed remarks by each godmother and presentations by Hagen and Yran & Storbraaten, the celebrated maritime architects and Viking Longship designers. The ceremony concluded with an onboard dinner and maiden voyage cruise around the Amsterdam harbor.

New Viking Longships

Viking Longships integrate patent-pending* design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends, such as:

– Two Explorer Suites, which will be the largest river cruise suites in Europe at 445 square feet, each featuring a separate living room, bedroom and private wraparound veranda, offering 270-degree views.

– Seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom.

– Thirty-nine Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas.

– Twenty-two French Balcony Staterooms.

– A revolutionary new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace, which reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors allowing guests to enjoy the scenery and dine al fresco.

– New premium in-cabin amenities that include heated bathroom floors and mirrors, Sony HD TV’s and premium bath products.

– Sustainability upgrades, such as solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines that reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.

Accommodating 190 passengers, the ships are scheduled to sail four of Viking’s most popular European itineraries, including the 10-day Tulips & Windmills, 8-day Romantic Danube, 15-day Grand European Tour and 8-day Danube Waltz. Each of the new Viking Longships will be 443 feet (135 meters) long and feature 95 staterooms per ship.

Just last week, Viking announced it has commissioned six additional Viking Longships for delivery in 2013, bringing the total number of new ships to be launched in two years to 12. With the six additional vessels, Viking will have invested more than $400 million in its fleet development program over three years.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to launch package to celebrate retirement

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines which operates four ships on the UK market, says it will launch a special celebration package to passengers who retire.

"Many guests taking a Fred. Olsen cruise are marking a special occasion, and often the holiday is to celebrate retirement, when there is at last time to relax and take it easy.  For those guests, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is launching a dedicated package - the ‘Retirement Celebration’ - bookable on any cruise, departing from January 2013," the company said in a statement.

 "The package comprises champagne and canapés served in the cabin, a greetings card, and celebration cake, and is priced at £45.00 per person. It must be booked at least 28 days prior to departure.  Full details will be in the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Worldwide Cruises 2013-14 brochure, due to be launched in June 2012. "





MSC Cruises revamps Kids' Club programmes

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises says that its Kids’ Club programmes have been revamped and updated to satisfy different age groups, meaning that children and teens can now have even more fun on board an MSC cruise.

“Family values lie firmly at the heart of MSC Cruises and the company is constantly looking for new ways to enhance the family experience on board. Since mid-January 2012 programme enhancements have been rolled out across the MSC fleet, with a focus on popular sporting activities, arts and crafts, theatre and technology. Programmes also feature a broader choice of family events, ranging from parades to scavenger hunts,” the company said in a statement.

“Just under 15% of our guests during the year are children, with this percentage rising to 30% during the summer season. It’s our job to ensure that they have an unforgettable experience, which means keeping them entertained all day,” said Daniela Picco, MSC Cruises On Board Marketing Manager.

“As 22% of the almost 200,000 under 18s who cruise with MSC every year are between 12 and 14, and 24% are between 15 and 17, it’s also a priority to keep programmes up to date for teens and make sure that ships contain the latest technology.”