Thursday, April 27, 2017

Princess Cruise Lines fined $40M for intentionally polluting ocean

The Caribbean Princess ship, which belongs to Princess Cruise Lines, a Carnival Corporation subsidiary, dumped 4,227 gallons of oily waste 23 miles off the coast of Britain on August 23, 2013, within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. A U.S. judge on Wednesday fined Princess Cruise Lines $40 million for the act to which the company plead guilty.
A federal judge imposed a $40 million fine on Princess Cruise Lines for intentionally polluting the ocean and placed the Carnival Corporation subsidiary on probation for five years, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. The DOJ said the fine represents the largest penalty for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution in U.S. history .The company previously agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges for illegally dumping 4,227 gallons of oily waste 23 miles off the coast of Britain on Aug. 23, 2013, within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. The company also falsified official logs in order to hide the pollution. Officials said the pollution also occurred in U.S. waters.
"These violations of law were serious, longstanding and designed to conceal illegal discharges," Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood said in a statement. "The sentence in this case should ensure that these crimes do not take place in the future and should also send a strong message to others that illegally polluting U.S. waters will not be tolerated."
Officials launched an investigation after an engineer on the Caribbean Princess ship, which belongs to Princess Cruise Lines, reported to authorities that the ship's crew was using an illicit pipe to discharge waste.After the engineer reported the incident, the ship's senior engineers "ordered a coverup, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie," the Justice Department said in a statement.Eight Carnival subsidiaries will be audited for the next five years by a court-supervised Environmental Compliance Program. U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz also ordered that the engineer who alerted authorities be paid $1 million."Without the courageous act of a junior crewmember to alert authorities to these criminal behaviors of deliberately dumping oil at sea, the global environmental damage caused by the Princess fleet could have been much worse," U.S. Coast Guard official Scott Buschman said in a statement. "The selflessness of this individual exposed five different ships that embraced a culture of shortcuts and I am pleased at this outcome."
The Caribbean Princess is accused of illegally discharging waste since 2005. Four other ships also were found to have used illegal means to pollute the ocean.
"A perceived motive for the crimes was financial -- the chief engineer that ordered the dumping off the coast of England told subordinate engineers that it cost too much to properly offload the waste in port and that the shore-side superintendent who he reported to would not want to pay the expense," the Justice Department previously wrote.


For more information,  contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES > TWICE AS NICE.

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES > TWICE AS NICE.
Save $1,000 off Your Cruise Fare per Stateroom, and Receive $2,000 in Onboard Spending Credit

Club Interior or Club Oceanview Staterooms can choose either the savings or the onboard credits, while Club Veranda or higher staterooms receive both.  


Enjoy these complimentary inclusive amenities on all voyages! 
AzMazing Evenings – An immersive cultural experience in the heart of your destination, included with your cruise fare
Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
Gratuities
Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
Self–service laundry
Shuttle service to and from port communities, where available
Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Look at these Special sailings 

Arabian Gulf & Emirates > 10 Nights on the Azamara Journey® > November 14, 2017 
Roundtrip Dubai, United Arab Emirates with stops in Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar
Club Oceanview from $3,299 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $120.54 per person are additional

Caribbean Sunsets > 8 Nights on the Azamara Quest® > December 1, 2017 
Miami, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico with stops in Haiti, St. Barts, Antigua, St. Kitts, and the British Virgin Islands  & AzAmazing Evening Event in St. Barts – Dazzling Dance and Opera
Club Oceanview from $2,249 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $164.70 per person are additional

Thailand and Vietnam > 14 Nights on the Azamara Journey® > December 9, 2017 
Singapore to Hong Kong with stops in Thailand and Vietnam plus AzAmazing Evening Event in Bangkok – Discovering Bangkok's Ancient City & Complimentary Chef's Table for Two – an exclusive dining experience pairing multiple delectable courses with perfectly matched wines
Club Oceanview from $4,199 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $158.47 per person are additional

Caribbean Breezes > 6 Nights on the Azamara Quest® > December 16, 2017 
San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida with stops in British Virgin Islands, St. Barts, and Haiti plus Complimentary Chef's Table for Two – an exclusive dining experience pairing multiple delectable courses with perfectly matched wines
Club Oceanview from $1,799 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $113.16 per person are additional
AzAmazing Costa Rica > 10 Nights on the Azamara Quest® > January 15, 2018 
NEW Country Intensive Voyage – A Roundtrip Caldera, Costa Rica with stops in Panama and Nicaragua
AzAmazing Evening Event in Panama – An Evening in Old Panama Enjoy the services of a Distinctive Voyages Host, a Private Cocktail Reception and an Exclusive Shore Event
Club Oceanview from $2,899 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $116.82 per person are additional


Borneo, Vietnam & Thailand > 14 Nights on the Azamara Journey® March 25, 2018 
Roundtrip Singapore with stops in Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Thailand with AzAmazing Evening Event in Bangkok - Discovering Bangkok's Ancient City and Enjoy the services of a Distinctive Voyages Host, a Private Cocktail Reception and an Exclusive Shore Event
Club Oceanview from $4,599 per person
Taxes, fees and port expenses of $148.54 per person are additional

Book by May 31, 2017.  Certain terms and conditions apply.

For more information and to be make reservations for any of these Azamara sailings or any other ones, contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .

Friday, March 31, 2017

Crystal to offer free WiFi on all ships

Crystal Cruises will institute unlimited free WiFi on its ocean, river and yacht fleets starting in April.  Complimentary WiFi had been offered previously on Crystal to upper suite guests, and for one hour a day only to passengers in standard cabins. There will be no limits on streaming video or other content forms, said John Polimenakos, vice president of information technology at Crystal. Crystal is buying more bandwidth and improving technology to enable free WiFi. Internet services remain expensive for cruise ships because they must be routed through satellites when ships are out of range of land transmission. Nevertheless, luxury lines have been inching toward including WiFi as part of the fare in various ways. Free WiFi was one of several changes unveiled. The line also announced that it will add two restaurant concepts to its ocean ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, in dry docks this year and next.
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For more information and to be make reservations for a Crystal Cocean Cruise, River Cruise or on one of their Yachts, contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .

Thursday, March 30, 2017

State Department Issues New Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia

The U.S. State Department has issued a new travel warning for Saudi Arabia, replacing a travel warning that was previously issued July 27, 2016. The State Department said it issued the warning due to continuing threats from terrorist groups, including ISIS and its affiliates, who have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and significant religious sites, and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Western travelers.
Additionally, violence from the conflict in Yemen has spilled over the border on a number of occasions, the State Department said. According to Saudi media outlets, since March 2015 more than 40,000 projectiles have been launched into Saudi territory from Yemen, including at least 30 missiles. The State Department has restricted U.S. government personnel and their families from traveling within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border. 
Travelers are also advised to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate them in an emergency. They can also contact the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling.

For more information and to make reservations for a Cruise,  contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .
Additional information can be obtained from visiting the State Department website: https://travel.state.gov

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Celebrity Edge to take guests on Magic Carpet ride

Celebrity Cruises lifted the veil from its much-awaited Edge class of ships, the first new design for the premium brand since the Solstice class was created in 2006. 
High on the list of new innovations  is the Magic Carpet, a traveling platform capable of seating 90 guests for dinner that will be cantilevered off the side of the ship and move between decks. 

The 90-ton covered platform, about the dimensions of a tennis court, will change function depending on which deck it docks. The uses range from a specialty restaurant to an extension of the pool deck to a loading dock for tender operations. Magic Carpet is one element of an overall theme of bringing guests in closer contact with the sea.
The Edge will have a unique design to some of its balcony cabins, which will be marketed as the Infinite Veranda. The fixed partition of steel and glass between the cabin and the balcony has been scrapped in favor of a thin, folding screen of glass, allowing the balcony to be incorporated into the cabin when the screen is open. The Infinite Veranda turns guest quarters into a seamless space -- from the room's door all the way to the water's edge.  At the cabin's edge, there is a glass half-height panel, and a second glass panel that descends at the push of a button to meet it from the ceiling. When that panel retracts, the whole cabin can be opened to the air. If the veranda window is down and it starts to rain, "the bridge has the ability to close the window," 
The 918 Infinite Veranda cabins will be 226 square feet without the balcony space and 269 square feet with it, compared with an industry average of 172 to 183 square feet.
The extra space will accommodate more storage, larger bathrooms and king beds. Edge will also have 16 Infinite Veranda cabins for solo travelers with queen beds. 
The veranda of the Iconic Suite sits above the wing of the bridge, complete with a Jacuzzi and sun chairs.  Suites will expand from 5% of capacity on the Solstice-class ships to 12% on Edge. There will be two Iconic suites of about 2,500 square feet perched atop the bridge with 700-square-foot balconies. They will have two bedrooms and two baths, and each can be combined with a Royal suite to form a larger accommodation.

The Celebrity Edge, which will be delivered in December 2018, and its sister Celebrity Beyond (due in 2020) will have a pair of two-bedroom, two-bath Penthouse suites and six duplex Edge villas. There will also be 146 Sky suites, all with conventional balcony doors. Suite guests will have exclusive access to a sundeck called The Retreat with a private pool, a separate lounge and butler service, as well as to the Luminae restaurant available only for suite guests, as on other Celebrity ships. 

The Celebrity Edge pool deck will feature elevated, tulip-shaped hot tubs and cabanas with 20-foot ceilings.  The pool deck, which was also previewed, will debut the industry's first two-story jogging track and an asymmetrical design in which many pool loungers are positioned outward to face the sea, rather than inward at the pool. There will be six rentable cabanas with 20-foot ceilings and tulip-shaped hot tubs that will be elevated on stems.

A Rooftop Garden with tree-like sculptures will occupy the aft pool deck. It will be larger than the Roof Terraces on Celebrity's Millennium class, and about the same size as the Lawn Club on Solstice class. It will have a grill comparable to the Lawn Club Grill and show movies like the Rooftop Terrace. 
Celebrity described the Rooftop Garden as a "one-of-a-kind space, like a hidden park in a bustling resort." 
Another advance for the Edge class will be a revision of the shore excursion tendering experience, which will use Magic Carpet as its centerpiece. Guests will access Magic Carpet through a Destination Gateway, an embarkation station that will show destination highlights on large LCD screens.  . When not being used for excursions, the Destination Gateway will be a learning and activities center, featuring enrichment talks, conferences, trunk shows, shopping events and art auctions.
The Celebrity Edge will also roll out a refined portfolio of digital services, primarily relying on the guest's smart phone for functionality. An X-Ray Vision app will let guests "see through walls" to remote areas of the ship such as the bridge, the galley or the engine room. 

For more information and to make reservations on any Celebrity vessel including the new Celebrity Edge,  contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .

Monday, March 20, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line hikes Service Charges

Norwegian Cruise Line is raising gratuities on April 1, and one ship, the Norwegian Sky, will have a bigger increase than the others.  Gratuities fleet wide on standard cabins are currently $13.50 per person, per day. The amount for ships other than Norwegian Sky will be adjusted to $13.99, a 3.6% increase. Daily gratuities for standard cabins on the Sky are rising to $18.99, a 41% increase. Gratuities for suites are $21.99 for the Sky and $16.99 for the rest of the fleet, up from $15.50 currently. Norwegian said the new gratuity schedule for the Sky was implemented "to better address the demands of the enormously successful all-inclusive product." The ship, which does short cruises from Miami, has had an open bar since the start of 2016. Beginning in May, the Sky's four-day cruises will include a stop in Havana instead of the Bahamas.
Norwegian said any guest that has made a booking by March 31, 2017 will have the option of prepaying their service charges at the current rate if done prior to sail date.
The gratuity amounts are automatically added to a guest's shipboard account. Guests can adjust the rate upward or downward, but only by contacting guest relations at Norwegian after they have returned from their cruise.  The Gratuity amount on Norwegian is Monitory and guests do not have a choice to change it based upon service they receive.  On board it is referred to as a Service Charge.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Royal Caribbean to Charge for Room Service Starting March 27

Royal Caribbean will charge guests a fee of $7.95 per order for ordering room service from the All Day Menu and the American Section of the breakfast menu. Continental breakfast options will still be complimentary. Additionally, room service will remain complimentary for guests staying in a Grand Suite stateroom or above. The $7.95 fee will be assessed for each room service order. The change will go into effect on sailings after March 27, 2017, along with a newly updated room service menu.  The move is a latest in a series of onboard policy changes for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line recently updated stateroom and suite categories across its entire fleet, removing the term family from higher occupancy staterooms and replacing it with terms that emphasize size, like spacious or ultra spacious.  In terms of onboard safety, Royal Caribbean also recently added certified lifeguards at all pools across its fleet. Under new guidelines implemented in February lifeguards are now on duty at all pools during opening hours. The new guidelines also added swim vests for children four to 12 years old, a water safety presentation in the Adventure Ocean kids program and a teen 411 session on water safety.

For more information and to make reservations on a Royal Caribbean vessel, contact The Cruise Professionals at theCRUISEOUTLET.com at 203-288-1884 or email: info@thecruiseoutlet.com .