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Updated: Teams onboard Azamara Quest continue to assess the damage caused by the engine fire

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Updated statement, April 2, 2012:

"Teams onboard Azamara Quest continue to assess the damage caused by the engine fire. Unfortunately, the damage required us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest's current voyage. We anticipate receiving a full assessment late this evening that will provide us with sufficient information to make a decision regarding the next voyage.

We encourage guests on the April 12, 2012, sailing of Azamara Quest to monitor this website on Tuesday, April 3 for an update on your voyage.

If you have specific questions regarding Azamara Quest, you may call toll free 1.888.829.4050 from the United States and Canada. Guest outside the United States may call direct or collect to 1.408.916.9001."

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Updated statement: April 1, 2012, 10:30 a.m. E.S.T.

"Azamara Quest arrived at Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia, on April 1, 2012, at approximately 9:23 p.m. local time.

The one crew member that was more severely injured will be immediately transferred to a local area hospital. Guests had the option of staying onboard the ship while it is docked in Sandakan, or being transferred to a local area hotel until they continue on their vacation.

Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive officer, will be flying to Sandakan in order to meet with Azamara Quest guests and crew personally. Mr. Pimentel is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia tomorrow morning, local time.

“I would like to sincerely thank our amazing Azamara Quest guests for their patience and understanding,” said Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive officer of Azamara Club Cruises. “We understand that this was a difficult journey, and we appreciate their upbeat and positive attitude. We look forward to welcoming them back soon.”

“I would also like to commend the crew onboard Azamara Quest, not just for their valiant and courageous efforts during the fire, but for the way they have worked tirelessly to make our guests as happy and comfortable as possible until the ship arrived in port. The entire crew has been absolutely brilliant, and I couldn’t be prouder of the exemplary way each and every one of them responded to this incident.”

The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest’s voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan. We encourage guests on the April 12, 2012, sailing of Azamara Quest to monitor this website on Monday, April 2 for an update on your voyage."

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Updated statement: March 31, 2012, 6:30 p.m. E.S.T.

"Azamara Quest is currently located 100 nautical miles from Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia, and is traveling at a speed of approximately six knots. Based on this speed, the ship is expected to arrive in Sandakan at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, local time. Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive officer of Azamara Club Cruises, is in route to Sandakan in order to meet with Azamara Quest guests and crew personally.

Unfortunately, the ship has not been able to restore power to the air conditioning compressors. While this is a very difficult undertaking, the onboard team is diligently working to resolve this issue. The guest sentiment onboard continues to be calm and upbeat.

The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest’s voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan. We encourage guests on the April 12, 2012, sailing of Azamara Quest to monitor this website on Monday, April 2 for an update on your voyage.

If you have specific questions regarding Azamara Quest, you may call toll free 1.888.829.4050 from the United States and Canada. Guest outside the United States may call direct or collect to 1.408.916.9001."

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Updated statement: Engineers onboard Azamara Quest have been able to restore propulsion to the ship.

Azamara Quest is currently sailing directly to Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia at between three to six knots. Based on this speed, the ship is expected to arrive in Sandakan within 24 to 48 hours.

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Updated statement: Engineers onboard Azamara Quest continue to work on restoring propulsion to the ship. Once they have restored the ship’s propulsion, Azamara Quest will sail directly to Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia. When propulsion has been restored to the ship, we will be able to provide an estimated time of arrival. Until then, we will be working with our guests to determine how we can best assist them with next steps and travel arrangements.

Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive officer, will be flying to Sandakan in order to meet with Azamara Quest guests personally. Mr. Pimentel is scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on Monday morning, local time.

Unfortunately, five crew members onboard the ship suffered smoke inhalation during the fire. The crew members are being treated in our medical facility. However, one crew member is more seriously injured and requires additional and urgent medical attention that can only be provided in a hospital. Once the ship arrives in Sandakan, the crew member will be immediately transported to a local area hospital.

The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest’s voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan. We encourage guests on the April 12, 2012, sailing of Azamara Quest to monitor this website on Monday, April 2 for an update on your voyage.

If you have specific questions regarding Azamara Quest, you may call toll free 1.888.829.4050 from the United States and Canada. Guest outside the United States may call direct or collect to 1.408.916.9001.

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Engineers onboard Azamara Quest have restored power to one of the ship's engines. This additional power has permitted the ship to reestablish air conditioning, running water, plumbing, refrigeration and food preparation onboard for the comfort of our guests and crew. While the ship does not have propulsion capabilities at this time, it is in the process of being repaired.

As you may be aware, on Friday, March 30, at approximately 8:19 p.m. ship time, Azamara Quest experienced a fire in one of ship's engine rooms. The fire was contained to that engine room and was quickly extinguished. There were no injuries of guests reported and the atmosphere aboard is calm. However, in an abundance of caution, the Captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests at their assembly stations. The ship is currently running on emergency power until full power can be restored to the engine room.

Azamara Quest is still located 200 miles off the coast of Balikpapan (Borneo), Indonesia, in calm seas.

Azamara Quest is currently on a 17-night sailing that departed Hong Kong, China, on Monday, March 26, and includes port calls to Manila, Philippines; Balikpapan (Borneo), Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa Bali, Semarang and Komodo, Indonesia and concludes in Singapore on Thursday, April 12.

Azamara Club Cruises will continue to closely monitor the situation onboard Azamara Quest.

Princess Cruises to enter Japanese market

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Responding to the growing interest for cruising in Japan, Carnival Corporation & plc is introducing the largest deployment ever by a global cruise line in the Japanese market when it brings Sun Princess to Japan for a spring to summer season of cruising in April 2013.

One of the world's leading cruise line brands, Princess Cruises, is launching an 87-day program featuring a total of nine cruises on seven different itineraries operating April through July of next year from both Yokohama and Kobe. The cruises will be from nine to 12 days in length.

The unique itineraries have been customized for the Japanese vacation market, and will launch with the most significant national holiday of Golden Week, a nine-day cruise on April 27, 2013 which includes two days in Hakata during the renowned Dontaku Festival.

Underscoring the importance of Japan in the growing worldwide cruise market, Carnival Japan, Inc. has been formed to sell the Princess Cruises brand and certain other Carnival brands in Japan, with Princess Cruises being the brand to launch this largest cruise season in the Japanese market. Carnival Japan, Inc. is part of Carnival Corporation & plc, a global cruise company and one of the largest vacation companies in the world. Carnival Japan will be based in Tokyo and overseen by Eiko Kijima, who will be on the board of directors of Carnival Japan.

"Our new Japan deployment is three times larger than that of any competitive international cruise program, with superior itineraries specifically designed for the Japanese market," said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and chief executive officer. "It's the very first time a global cruise line is offering a full season of cruises from April to July designed specifically for passengers from Japan. We believe that our unique itineraries and onboard experience will prove extremely popular and will help to introduce cruise vacations to a growing number of Japanese vacationers."

Approximately 18,000 passengers are expected to be carried during this first season of cruising in Japan.

Highlights of other itineraries include overnight stays at cities with popular annual festivals, destinations known for their natural hot springs, northern ports of Japan and foreign ports in Korea and Taiwan, among others.

Pricing for these cruises starts at ¥124,000 per person, double occupancy for a nine-day sailing.

The cruise experience will be substantially the same as the Princess Cruises product offered around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line's signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat.

However modifications will be made including introducing key passenger-facing positions which will be filled by Japanese-speaking crew members. Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and an a la carte sushi bar will be opened. A specially designed enrichment program will include an expert lecture series on art, culture and history. Other amenities such as the shopping selection and spa treatments will also be tailored to Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information will be translated into Japanese.

An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries so that Sun Princess passengers can experience all the ports have to offer.

The 77,000-ton Sun Princess carries 2,022 passengers and features a high number of staterooms with private balconies, Lotus Spa, steakhouse, wine bar, patisserie, pizzeria, boutiques, and internet café among other amenities.

This new season of cruises will open for sale on April 16, 2012 and the sailings, along with all other cruises sold in the Japan market for Princess' worldwide destinations, will be sold in Japanese Yen.

In conjunction with this new program, the Princess Cruises brand will also launch a Japanese language version of its travel agent booking tool called POLAR Online, enabling travel agents in Japan to book cruises easily and conveniently. The user-friendly 24/7 booking system, which is the number one booking tool for Princess cruises worldwide, is a real-time travel agent reservations portal featuring an easy-to-navigate program, rich with information and functionality. 

CLIA and ECC want casualty reporting regulations enhanced

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and European Cruise Council (ECC) are recommending enhancements to regulations about the reporting of casualties at sea, as part of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review launched by CLIA and its member lines immediately following the Costa Concordia incident in January, the two organisations said in a joint statement.

Specifically, CLIA and ECC are recommending that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) expressly and more clearly require flag states to report all “very serious marine casualties.”  Very serious marine casualties are defined by the IMO and include any marine casualty resulting in a passenger or crewmember fatality, the complete loss of a ship, or serious damage to the marine environment. CLIA requested that Member States of the IMO consider clarifying existing requirements via an amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which provides comprehensive global mandates on safety equipment and procedures.

These recommendations were made in a paper submitted March 12 to the IMO by CLIA, on behalf of its members. “Ensuring the consistency of reporting will benefit both the general public and the industry by improving awareness and transparency,” Christine Duffy, President & CEO of CLIA said. “While marine casualties in the cruise industry are extremely rare and our singular priority is always to prevent them, we believe these recommendations will ensure consistency across the industry and greater transparency for all our stakeholders.

 

“The global cruise industry is committed to proactively improving safety procedures. We are maintaining an open and regular dialogue with the IMO and are appreciative of their support of the Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review.”

 

The cruise industry has an exceptional safety record compared with other forms of passenger transportation. According to GP Wild, an independent source of analysis and data on the cruise industry, in the decade prior to the grounding of the Concordia, there were a total of 28 fatalities on cruise ships related to an operational casualty out of 223 million passengers and crew who sailed during those years. 22 of those fatalities involved crew members and six were passengers.

 

 

 

Royal Caribbean to transfer Monarch of the Seas to Pullmantur

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced the transfer of Monarch of the Seas from its Royal Caribbean International cruise brand to its Pullmantur brand, a cruise and tour operator based in Madrid. Monarch of the Seas will transfer to Pullmantur on April 1, 2013, following its last sailing for Royal Caribbean International, which departs on March 29, 2013.

"We are very proud of Monarch of the Seas for delivering great service and outstanding destinations to vacationers since her maiden voyage," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. "She will go on creating wonderful travel memories through her final sailings for our brand through next March and then continue doing the same for Pullmanturs guests."

With the incorporation of Monarch of the Seas, Pullmantur will increase its total guest capacity by nearly 25 percent and meet a rising demand for the brands distinctive All Inclusive-style cruise holidays.

"The transfer of Monarch of the Seas will reinforce Pullmantur in our Latin American growth strategy, and help us become one of the most widely recognized brands," said Pullmanturs President and CEO, Gonzalo Chico Barbier.

Monarch of the Seas was built at Chantiers de LAtlantique (now STX France) in St. Nazaire, France and sailed its maiden voyage on November 17, 1991. The ship is part of the Sovereign class of cruise ships, which were the world's largest and most innovative of their time.

Pullmantur is the leading Spanish Tour Operator and Cruise Company, founded in 1971, and famous for introducing the All Inclusive concept to cruising. Pullmantur is leader of the cruise market in Spain and Portugal, currently operating a modern fleet of four vessels, with a daily passenger capacity of 9,000, cruising worldwide, and calling on approximately 100 destinations. The company offers a unique door-to-door flight service, operated by its in-house air travel division with a fleet of four Boeing 747-400. Pullmantur Air provides charter flights to the European Cruise Port Embarkations and long-haul flights between Spain and the Caribbean Sea for the companys tour-operation division. Spain based Pullmantur, operates through satellite offices in Brasil, Mexico, Portugal and France.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand currently with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

Royal Caribbean International and Pullmantur are part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), a global cruise vacation company that also operates Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, CDF Croisieres de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture with TUI AG. The company owns a combined total of 40 ships and has one under construction and two under agreement.

Norwegian Breakaway to feature "oceanfront boardwalk"

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Norwegian Cruise Line today unveiled a major innovation in ship design: The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place on its newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, launching in April 2013. This new concept includes an oceanfront boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants and bars, combined with three expansive, flowing decks of dining, bars, entertainment, gaming and more. The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place will take cruising to new heights and offer an unparalleled experience with a unique connection to the ocean.

"With our newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, we are continuing our tradition of innovation with a brand new ship design that will provide our guests with a unique experience unlike anything else at sea," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "The heart of Norwegian Breakaway and the elements that truly set it apart are The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place. Guests will enjoy al fresco dining while admiring the beauty of the ocean, along with the excitement and exhilaration of three expansive action-packed decks, as everything is designed to flow seamlessly." Located on Deck 8, The Waterfront is a revolutionary outdoor experience that adds a whole new dimension to the line's signature Freestyle Cruising, by offering a number of seaside venues that feature breathtaking views and a sense of connection with the ocean. The hub of the ship is 678 Ocean Place, a space that uniquely flows, intertwines and connects three decks of daytime and nighttime amusements. There will be a total of 17* dining venues combined on both 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, along with 12* bars and lounges. Norwegian will also introduce a new dining concept on Norwegian Breakaway, Ocean Blu, the line's first ever all-seafood restaurant, which will include a premium raw bar, along with a separate sushi bar.

The Waterfront
The Waterfront will feature eight outdoor dining and lounging options, including signature Norwegian favorites like Moderno Churrascaria; Cagney's Steakhouse; La Cucina; Shaker's Cocktail Bar; Malting's Beer & Whiskey Bar; and the newest addition, Ocean Blu on The Waterfront, with outdoor seating and a special takeaway menu. The Waterfront will also feature another first for Norwegian - a gelato bar serving a selection of flavors of the delectable frozen treat. Guests will enjoy this creamy confection as they take a leisurely stroll along The Waterfront. A yet-to-be-announced entertainment venue will also have an outdoor space.

678 Ocean Place
On Deck 8, 678 Ocean Place connects the excitement of The Waterfront outdoor spaces with interior dining venues for Moderno; Cagney's; Shaker's; La Cucina; Malting's and Ocean Blu, including the raw and sushi bars. An elegant modern take on an ocean-inspired theme with a glamorous feel, Ocean Blu is the newest addition to Norwegian's Freestyle Dining lineup. Featuring a premium raw bar and a sushi bar, Ocean Blu will offer seafood lovers a culinary treasure. "In a recent guest survey, our guests chose a seafood restaurant as the number one type of restaurant they would like on board our ships," said Sheehan. "We listened to that feedback when planning the dining on Norwegian Breakaway and will launch Ocean Blu as our newest signature restaurant concept."

La Cucina celebrates the Tuscan countryside and will continue to serve Norwegian's delicious Italian dishes to guests who choose dine either al fresco on the outdoor patio on The Waterfront, in the main restaurant or the interior terrace option, giving guests the opportunity to dine along the interior walkway beneath twinkling lanterns, exposed wooden beams and greenery.

Moderno Churrascaria is Norwegian's signature Brazilian-style steakhouse. Whether guests dine indoors or out, they will feast from a huge salad bar, followed by a variety of grilled and slow-roasted meats that are carved tableside by passadors. Overlooking the Manhattan Room is another Norwegian signature establishment, Cagney's Steakhouse, which will feature succulent grilled steaks, perfectly cooked double cut lamb chops and other steakhouse favorites. Guests will dine in style amidst warm wood tones as they enjoy watching the chefs prepare their meals in the open kitchen. Located between Cagney's and Moderno, Prime Meridian will offer guests the opportunity to order a signature cocktail and soak in the action taking place around them on 678 Ocean Place. Guests will also find retail outlets, the photo gallery, and the Humidor Cigar Lounge on Deck 8. A three-story open atrium with an exquisite LED chandelier with light changing effects will serve as the centerpiece of 678 Ocean Place with openings to all three decks and glass staircases connecting the levels.

Spanning more than 18,000 square feet on Deck 7, the contemporary Breakaway Casino will have a stylish sophistication created by the use of rich materials, luxurious ornamental lighting and highly decorative artwork including gold tiles and upscale finishes. Breakaway Casino will offer guests the opportunity to try their luck on more than 300 of the latest slot machines; along with 26 gaming tables featuring poker, black jack, roulette and craps. With the most rewarding Casinos At Sea Players Club program, there will be something for everyone, from the novice to the high roller. Bar 21, located adjacent to the Casino, is a stunning, intimate bar featuring video poker and multiple plasma television screens.

Reminiscent of a private New York City supper club, The Manhattan Room is a complimentary restaurant on Deck 7 that will feature a dance floor as its focal point. As guests dine on cuisine that reflects the elegant and romantic nature of the room, they will enjoy live music and dancing. The two-story high restaurant showcases floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows looking aft.

Due to the popularity of the noodle bar on Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway will feature Shanghai's Noodle Bar, the largest noodle bar at sea. This exciting dining concept will offer all counter seating around an open kitchen and will serve traditional Chinese noodles, wok-fried dishes and dim sum.

Another guest favorite, O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill, returns on Norwegian Breakaway. This complimentary 24-hour a day neighborhood sports bar and restaurant will serve classic American favorites and comfort food. It will feature a giant two-story screen, perfect for watching sports and movies, along with miniature bowling, pool and air hockey tables and interactive games.

A popular hotspot on several Norwegian ships, Bliss Ultra Lounge has been re-designed on Norwegian Breakaway to resemble a true hotspot, similar to trendy New York clubs. Guests will feel the excitement as they walk through the LED-lit tunnel entrance to the illuminated bar, LED walls and pulsating dance floor where they will dance the night away. Savor, one of the three complimentary main dining options on Norwegian Breakaway, will feature cuisine that is traditional with a contemporary flair. Across from Savor, is where guests will find Taste, another complimentary main dining venue. Taste will serve a variety of culinary delights to please every palate. Both restaurants feature clean lines and upscale, contemporary décor. Located between Savor and Taste is Mixx Bar, the perfect, pre- or post-dinner gathering place, with a modern twist to a classical design.

Norwegian's signature Teppanyaki restaurant will continue to dazzle guests on Norwegian Breakaway with the addition of a traditional Japanese rock garden, featuring bamboo plants and bonsai trees to promote a pleasing aesthetic ambiance. With 96 seats surrounding 12 flat top grills, Teppanyaki chefs will showcase their knife-wielding skills while cooking exhibition-style Japanese cuisine. Guests will be amazed by the masterful chefs while they enjoy an appetizing meal.

Le Bistro, Norwegian's signature French restaurant, will feature an elegant indoor setting, along with a European sidewalk-style dining opportunity which will overlook the social hub of the ship, 678 Ocean Place. Guests will marvel at the three-story cascading LED chandelier above them, along with the constant flow of people as they dine on classic French favorites.

Within the Atrium, located on Deck 6, guests will find a two-story video wall along with the Café and Bar at The Atrium. The Café will offer specialty coffees and fresh baked treats. The Bar at The Atrium will feature mixed drinks, along with a self-service wine bar. The Shore Excursion Desk, Internet Café and Art Gallery will be located in close proximity to the Atrium, along with two meeting rooms, card room and library.

Additional dining options and bars not located within 678 Ocean Place will be announced in late April. There will also be a number of exciting entertainment venues located within 678 Ocean Place that will be revealed at a later date this spring.

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