Friday, February 25, 2011

Port of Los Angeles Provides Power to Three Cruise Lines

The Port of Los Angeles this month became the first port worldwide to provide Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) to three cruise lines, which significantly reduces ship exhaust when cruise vessels are in port. In recent weeks, ships from Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have taken advantage of AMP Mobile technology, developed specifically for the port’s World Cruise Center. The World Cruise Center is also the only port where two cruise ships can be connected simultaneously.

“As the state of California recognizes the environmental impacts of operations at California’s major seaports, this program in particular deserves credit for its ability to sharply reduce ship emissions,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The ability to adapt this technology to multiple cruise lines eliminates significant ship exhaust when cruise ships are at berth.”

Cruise ships utilize either 6.6 or 11 kilovolts electrical power distribution systems to plug into shore power, and the Port of Los Angeles can now accommodate either. Currently the power demand of the cruise ships calling at the Port of Los Angeles is from eight to 13 megawatts of power. A seven-megawatt load is equivalent to producing enough electricity for approximately 1,000 homes. The port’s system is capable of delivering up to 40 megawatts of power, with 20 megawatts of power delivery capacity to each of the two ships. In 2004, the Port of Los Angeles started using shore power for in-service container ships.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cruise Lines Return to Mazatlan After Safety Issues Addressed

Mazatlan tourism officials report the Mexican port is now busy with cruise passengers just a week after several cruise lines cancelled calls there, citing increased crime. Earlier this week, we welcomed thousands of passengers from major cruise lines, including Holland America, Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian, said Julio Birrueta, spokesman for the Mazatlan Tourism Trust.

The Pacific Coast destination hosts more than 520,000 cruise passengers annually. In addition to those cruise companies mentioned above, lines that visit Mazatlan include Crystal Cruises, Princess, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, among others. In response to last week’s questions over safety, Mexico Tourism Minister Gloria Guevara Manzo, Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez and other state and local officials met earlier this week with executives from the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to develop a plan to underscore the destinations commitment to the safety of cruise passengers and all visitors to the destination. Following the meeting, Francisco Cordova Celaya, the state secretary of public safety, announced new measures for Mazatlan that will serve as a model to other destinations throughout Mexico.

The State Department of Public Safety will bolster its tourism police force with a special unit of plain-clothes security personnel in the main tourist areas, including shore excursion sites. In addition, the office of the state attorney will add more bilingual agents to assist visitors. These agents will make the safety of all visitors their priority, said Marco Antonio Higuera, the state attorney. Should any concerns arise among cruise passengers, we will notify cruise line officials immediately. In an effort to assure a speedy and accurate communication, the state secretary of tourism will notify cruise officials directly should any concerns arise.

After a one-week hiatus, Holland America resumed service to Mazatlan this week. Princess Cruises is scheduled to return Feb. 12. Our security team is monitoring the situation very closely and at this time we don't have an itinerary change to report,” Princess said.

Mazatlan hosts nearly two million visitors annually, and that number has increased steadily for the past five years, according to Birrueta. He added that many travelers return year after year for extended stays, with nearly 9,000 U.S. and Canadian citizens making this seaside destination their winter home.