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Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s Balmoral detained for safety rule violations for two days in September

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’1988 built Balmoral was detained in Southampton for two days in September due to safety related deficiencies, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said in a statement.

“The vessel was detained in Southampton for 2 days because several track rollers of the starboard lifeboat davits were seized, the hours of rest records for the master, chief officer, chief engineer and senior first engineer were false for several days during September 2011, and the deficiencies identified were objective evidence of a serious failure or lack of effectiveness of the implementation of the ISM code,” MCA said in a statement. MCA enforces maritime safety regulations in the UK and posts details of vessels detained for violations of these regulations on its website.

“Other deficiencies identified included; the crew showed a lack of knowledge and training in respect of the abandon ship drill in addition fire screen doors 402A I and 2409 in the laundry were not closing. The vessel was released from detention on 28/09/2011,” MCA said.

The ship’s classification society is Bureau Veritas and the recognized organization for ISM (International Ship Management) Code is Det Norske Veritas, MCA said.

TUI Cruises in €1,212 wedding package offer for those that marry on 12 December 2012

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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TUI Cruises, the German premium market cruise operator, is offering a special wedding package for those that marry on 12 December – at a price of €1,212 per person.

The package, which includes a 112 minute spa programme, a bottle of champagne, box of chocolates and e.g. invitation to dine at the Surf & Turf specialty restaurant, will be available on Mein Schiff 1 on a 7 night Caribbean fly cruise that departs  14 December 2012 and on Mein Schiff 2 on a similar cruise out of Dubai that departs 16 December 2012.

The company is also preparing a present for those couples that marry on 11 November 2011. It also offers the option to have a wedding at sea as masters of the two Maltese flag vessels have the right to conduct marriage ceremonies while the shipa re in international waters, TUI Cruises said.

Costa Voyager enters service

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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Costa Cruises, the Italian unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, has introduced  Costa Voyager of 24,400 gross tons and with 927 berth in its fleet.

The ship entered originally entered service in 2000 with now defunct Royal Olympic Cruises, but it joined costa from the fleet ofIberocruceros, the Carnival group’s Spanish company. “Costa Voyager will offer Guests 416 cabins in total, including 16 panoramic suites and 12 suites with private balcony. Relaxation and fun will be guaranteed by 3 restaurants, 4 bars, a theatre, wellness centre with gym, treatment rooms, sauna and Turkish bath, swimming pool, disco, shopping centre and Squok club (children's club),” the company said in a statement

The arrival of the Costa Voyager is in line with the Italian company’s policy of having a versatile fleet of ships with a range of dimensions and differing characteristics, so as to be able to offer its customers a series of brand new itineraries.  More specifically, the technical characteristics of the Costa Voyager make her especially suitable for cruises to the Red Sea, a new destination that Costa Cruises added to its range of itineraries last winter and will be offering throughout 2012.

Costa Voyager's first cruise will be a 15-day journey from Savona, leaving on 20 November 2011 and travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh in the Red Sea. From 5th December 2011 to the end of 2012, Costa Voyager will be offering week-long cruises in the Red Sea, departing on Mondays from Sharm el-Sheikh, where the ship stops for 2 days, and calling at Eilat (Israel), Aqaba (Jordan), Safaga (Egypt), Sokhna (Egypt).

Voyages of Discovery completes ‘School Cruise with 750 students and staff

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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Voyages of Discovery, the only cruise line to offer a dedicated school at sea programme in the UK, says it has completed another successful ‘Schools Cruise’ this past week – its first one having taken place in 1994.

More than 750 pupils and staff enjoyed an opportunity to cruise to Eastern Mediterranean’s sites of antiquity in support of their GCSE and A level studies The students, from 29 schools on this cruise, took part in a comprehensive itinerary designed to give every student maximum educational benefits from their cruising experience.

“This year’s cruise set sail from Kusadasi in Turkey and proceeded on to Haifa for Galilee, Ashdod for Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Port Said for Cairo and the island of Rhodes before reaching Athens. While at sea and prior to each port, students were treated to a stimulating programme of on-board lectures given by expert Voyages of Discovery staff,” the company said.

Voyages of Discovery has revived a tradition from the 1960s and the 1970s, when a P&O subsidiary British India Steam Navigation Company operated passenger ships on this business. The last one, Uganda of 16,907 gross tons, was withdrawn from requisitioned for the Falklands War in 1982 and remain in military service until scrapped in 1985. A much larger vessel, the 20,526 gross ton Nevasa, operated alongside Uganda in 1965-75. Both ships had rather spartan accommodation for students, but good cabins and public rooms for other passengers.

Voyages of Discovery accommodates students in normal passenger cabins on board the 20,636 gross ton Discovery. These are far superior in quality compared to the student accommodation on British India ships.

“With an extensive amount of experience running a ‘school at sea’, the specialist staff were responsible for all aspects of the schools’ daily routine including the timetabling and programming arrangements so essential for the smooth operation of an educational cruise,” the company continued.

Featuring some of the Eastern Mediterranean’s most renowned historical sites including Ephesus, Jerusalem and the ancient Egyptian Pyramids, the itinerary was carefully crafted to give students enough time ashore to absorb something of the history, culture and way of life of the places and people the ship visits. When not immersed in culture and learning the students were able to kick back and enjoy some of the many entertainment and leisure options available to them onboard including a cinema, disco, pool, organised quizzes, art and photography plus a large selection of board games to keep busy.  

Mo Holland, School Cruise Manager, Voyages of Discovery explains the benefits to students: “It is so rewarding to be involved in such an exceptionally unique programme in which young people have the opportunity to gain a different perspective on our world’s many cultural and historical sites. In all my years as School Cruise Manager I have yet to find any student that has not been entranced at some level by the engaging programme of lectures and shore excursions that Voyages of Discovery is consistently able to offer year after year.”

As the only cruise line available to schools for an exclusive voyage of exploration, Voyages of Discovery offers students a unique and specialised cultural cruising experience of a lifetime and one that is a world away from normal day at school. For normal itineraries, Discovery’s smaller size accommodates around 650 passengers, allowing it to visit ports and destinations which larger cruise liners are unable to, bringing each destination to life with renowned guest speakers.

Study shows British passengers' high brand loyalty

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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Research from an online cruise travel agency has revealed that half of British cruisers are loyal to cruise brands, a fifth of which have only ever cruised with one company. A further 16% of respondents claimed to have always been loyal to one specific cruise ship, a report in says.

“As part of ongoing research into the holiday habits of Britons, an independent online cruising travel agency conducted a study into the loyalty of cruisers. 1,214 British cruisers, each of whom had embarked on more than three cruises, were polled,” the report said. The study, conducted by, initially asked the respondents to the study if they were loyal to specific cruise operators, to which more than half, 52%, said ‘yes’. These respondents were then asked how many cruise operators they have travelled with, almost a fifth, 19%, admitted to only having ever cruised with one operator.

Of the fifth of respondents who admitted to being loyal to one specific cruise operator, 23% stated that they were loyal because of the ‘high quality’ of cruise offered by their favoured operator; whilst 18% said it was because they were ‘cheaper’ than any other liner. In a bid to investigate the matter further,, created by the founders of online travel agency, asked respondents to detail which other habits or loyalties they had when it came to cruising. Sixteen percent  of the respondents polled claimed to be ‘loyal’ to a specific cruise ship, admitting to only ever having cruised on the same cruise liner. A quarter of these, 24%, said they were loyal to a particular ship because of the ‘luxury’ onboard.

Furthermore, more than a tenth, 12%, of those polled claimed to be ‘loyal’ to a particular cruise route, stating that they always travelled to the same destinations through the same route; therefore, essentially being loyal to the destinations rather than the cruise operator or ship.

Chris Brown, co-founder of, spoke about the results of the study: “It was interesting to see that some cruisers are loyal to a particular operator, even though they had only ever embarked on a cruise supplied by them. However, it is understandable, as a first cruise is often a very special experience. I would always recommend trying a new operator and ship though; as long as you do your research and travel with a well known and respected operator, everything should run smoothly.”

He continued: “Many holidaymakers are loyal to a specific aspect of their holiday, whether it be the operator, destination, resort or liner...the list is endless!  Holidays are such an important part of our lives that we may not want to risk trying something new, it can make sense to stick with what you know. Maybe next time you are booking a holiday, consider trying something new, you will probably love it!”