Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Norwegian Selects Rockettes as Godmothers of New Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Line selected New York’s famous Rockettes to serve as godmothers of the Norwegian Breakaway, which will be christened in the Big Apple on May 8. The partnership with Madison Square Garden Entertainment also includes Norwegian being named the "Official Cruise Line" of the Rockettes and Radio City Music Hall, and the "Official Partner" of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

As part of their role as godmothers, two Rockettes will sail aboard the first six sailings of Norwegian Breakaway, beginning May 12, and the first sailing of each month thereafter, taking part in special events.

Norwegian Breakaway is being designed as New Yorks ship, and we want everyone to know that this is the ‘must-sail’ cruise ship from New York in 2013 and beyond," said Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan. "I strongly believe that the Rockettes, one of the most beloved and recognizable New York icons, are the perfect choice to serve as the ship’s godmothers." The larger partnership across the Madison Square Garden Entertainment properties will create brand exposure for Norwegian at Radio City Music Hall, including onsite presence during the 2012 production of the Christmas Spectacular. Guests attending this year’s Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of two cruises for a family of four on Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian Cruise Line will have a year-round display in Radio City Music Hall’s Grand Lounge with an 11-foot replica of Norwegian Breakaway, along with information on the ship’s attributes, entertainment, dining, destinations and more.

Onboard Norwegian Breakaway, the Rockettes will be showcased by a historical retrospective in the ship’s library, a fitness class designed by the Rockettes, featured beverages and more. On select sailings, guests will have the opportunity to meet two of the Rockettes who will offer fitness classes, photo opportunities, meet-and-greet speaker series and more. For additional information on this and other specials with Norwegian Breakaway contact at or 203-288-1884.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Carnival to Discontinue Future Cruise Certificate Program

Carnival Cruise Lines is eliminating its future cruise certificate program, which gave guests shipboard credit on their next cruise if they made a $100 deposit while onboard. The purchasers could finalize the ship and departure date up to two years later. The program will end on departures on or after Sept. 27, but guests will still be able to get shipboard credit if they finalize the ship and sail date while onboard. Outstanding certificates will be honored up to the expiration date printed on the face of the certificate. "After careful consideration, we’ve decided to eliminate the Future Carnival Vacations Program due to its low economic performance," said a statement on Carnivals website. Many Carnival customers appear unhappy with the decision, based on comments on the popular blog penned by Senior Cruise Director John Heald. His report that the program was ending garnered more than 460 comments within five hours. "We always take advantage of this program and it was fantastic. Most of the time when we cruise we don’t know when or what ship our next cruise will be on, but we know we’ll be taking another," wrote Shelley Johnston Ziegler. "Think about it from a typical working person’s point of view … a lot of us need to get approval for time off and make other travel arrangements and can’t do so so far in advance (assuming we cruise once a year or so). Please consider reinstating this program." Agreeing was JP Kraus: "The problem lies in making the confirmed reservation. When booking a cruise (or any vacation for that matter) most of us have to get permission from work, arranging a pet sitter, you name it. This is simply not possible if you have to book a cruise while we’re on a ship. With the [future cruise certificate] we’d be able to make a reservation from the comfort of our own home." Others said they didn’t want to spend time researching future cruises with the onboard sales counselor during their vacation, especially if there was a wait.

For more information contact at 203-288-1884 or


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cruise ports, private lots battle over parking revenue

Cruise passengers can pay $15 to $20 a day to park their car at a port, adding upwards of $100 to the cost of a seven-night vacation, a situation that in some cases has set up a tug-of-war between ports, off-site parking operators and the cruise lines. Ports complain that when passengers use private lots, it diverts revenue that they need to finance cruise infrastructure improvements. Ports have fought back by imposing fees on off-site drop-off vans and by making arrangements with cruise lines to steer passengers to port-owned facilities — for a piece of the action. That’s the case at the Port of Galveston, where Carnival Cruise Lines gets 25% of the parking revenue after the port’s initial $2.5 million in collections.

At least five private lot operators vie for revenue with a variety of incentives. Galveston Port Director Mike Mierzwa said he has been working to get a more direct link to his parking garage from Carnival’s website and to see if Carnival reservations agents could refer callers to his spaces first when they’re asked about parking. "We’re still in discussions about it," he said. Carnival said it provides a Web link to the Galveston port and has agreements with ports that give it an incentive to assist them with marketing, but a spokesman said it didn’t have any further specifics about Galveston. Competition for port-developed parking comes from airport-based chains such as Park ’N Fly and Park ’N Go, independents and nearby hotels that offer guests bargain rates. At Port Everglades, there is competition from owners of small lots on recently cleared industrial land, port spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy said. "At one point we welcomed it, because our parking lots were overflowing," she said. But in the last 10 years, the port has expanded both its garage and lot capacity and can now accommodate about 7,600 vehicles. Parking revenue fell $60,000 last year, to $8.17 million, but Kennedy said the cause is unclear. In addition to more competition, Port Everglades is seeing more international passengers who don’t drive to the port. Port Everglades charges $15 a night for parking.
Perhaps the biggest parking controversy erupted at Port Canaveral, where private lot operators have been charging between $6 and $8 a night. That compares to a port schedule of $60 for three days, $75 for four days, $90 for five days and $100 for seven days, according to its website. In June, the Canaveral Port Authority voted to stop issuing new permits to off-site parking providers and to assess a $50 fee on shuttle buses coming from hotels and off-site lots.
The vote followed airing of a study by consultant Lumin Advisors that said private operators threatened the port’s financial health. An uproar ensued, and in July the authority rescinded the $50 fee and appointed a panel to advise it on parking issues. Although parking fell from 20.4% of port revenue in 2010 to 17.8% last year, it has since rebounded, said authority Vice Chairman Tom Weinberg. "We’re not in any trouble with revenues on our parking," he said. Private lot operators say their selling point isn’t always price. "We’re a little cheaper — not much," said Tom Gamelin, manager of Discount Cruise Parking, about three miles from the Port of Galveston. Seven nights of prepaid parking costs $50, compared with $70 at the port. Gamelin said first-time cruisers often bypass him. "I’m like Mom & Pop’s hamburger, not like McDonald’s," he said. "When people are traveling, they want something familiar."
His market is the more experienced cruiser who knows that he has a gas station and that his location near the interstate saves time getting on and off Galveston Island. "They appreciate what I’ve got to offer," he said. For more information contact at 203-288-1884

Costa Says Concordia Captain Strayed from Approved Route

Costa Crociere has issued a strong denial that it knew in advance that Capt. Francesco Schettino, master of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, would veer from a company-approved routing to sail closer to the Italian island of Giglio. The statement was issued in response to Italian newspaper articles reporting on supposed findings of the ship’s black box. The Concordia keeled over Jan. 13 after rocks sliced through its hull; thirty-two people died.
"In response to what has been reported by La Stampa and reprinted by other media outlets, Costa Crociere has stated that it is clear from the surveys carried out from the black box [that] it is a completely inaccurate hypothesis that the company was aware of the route followed by Captain Schettino. What has been reported in the media is not only wrong, but also harmful to the image of the company with the potential to cause economic damage."
Costa said the black box shows that the route approved the afternoon of Jan. 13 in Civitavecchia was "a routine and secure route approved by the company (five miles away from the island). Later Captain Schettino took it upon himself to modify the route but neglected to inform the company." Furthermore, Costa said, a few minutes before the accident Schettino personally took over the operation and took authority by giving orders to the helmsman, which resulted in a further change of direction (of which the company was unaware) that led the vessel to an unsafe route closer to Giglio Island, which then led to the accident."  For more information contact at 203-288-1884

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Offers New 2013 Sailings Departing from Galveston

Starting in 2013, Disney Cruise Line will offer a number of new itineraries on Disney Magic departing from Galveston, Texas, that it says will provide even more cruise options for guests. In addition to six-night Western Caribbean sailings, new choices include four-night Caribbean getaway cruises and eight-night itineraries that take guests to Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

In the early part of 2013, the Disney Magic will sail from the Port of Galveston to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas with four-, six- and eight-night itineraries. New for 2013 will be four-night Caribbean sailings offering guests a quick getaway and including two days at sea and porting at Cozumel, giving guest a chance to sample the DCL experience. Departure dates are Feb. 1, 5, March 15, 19, April 12, 16.

Also new are six-night Western Caribbean cruises out of Galveston with ports of call including Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Departure dates are Jan. 12, 26, Feb. 9, 23, March 9, 23, April 6, 20, May 4.

An eight-night Bahamas sailing out of Galveston includes a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, and a stop at Port Canaveral, Fla., giving guests an opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort. As part of this itinerary, each guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and roundtrip transportation between their Disney ship and the resort. Ports include Castaway Cay, Port Canaveral and Key West. Departure dates are Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 1, 29, April 26, May 10.

Another eight-night Western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston include stops in Mexico and Key West Fla. Ports include Galveston, Key West, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Departure date is Jan. 4.