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A few years ago, a fake trailer for a sequel to James Cameron’s mega-movie Titanic made the internet rounds, and it was a pretty big hit. The video is fun and silly – the “movie” is about Jack Dawson surviving in a block of ice at the bottom of the ocean, and having to adjust to modern day. The main joke is the trailer itself. How wacky would it be to have a Titanic II? That’s just too crazy for the real world, right? Right?
Not quite. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled construction plans for the Titanic II, a “full-scale re-creation” of the White Star Liner that tragically sank in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers. Palmer said as Titanic was the ship of dreams, Titanic II will be, “the ship where dreams come true.” Read more
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspection onboard Cunard’s luxe Queen Mary 2 gave the ship a failing sanitary score. The inspection report, which mentions the discovery of cockroaches in a food storage bin, dirt and corrosion found on the deck of one of the ship’s splash pools, and chemicals found stored next to napkins and other paper products, was released on June 10. The final score from the report was 84 – an 85 or lower is deemed “unsatisfactory.” The Queen Mary 2 may be the only ship with a failed score thus far this year, but the list of ships that have failed inspection throughout the history of the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program is long. 64 ships have failed inspection since 1993, with V. Ships Liesure’s Albatross the last ship to fail inspection, scoring 69 in Februrary 2010. Jackie Chase, a spokeswoman from Cunard, said she was confident the failings would not happen again. In a statement she said, “The poor assessment on June 10 resulted largely from one small area of the ship’s overall operation. All the issues raised in the report were immediately addressed and have now been corrected.” So, Cruise News readers – will this deter you from sailing Cunard’s grande dame anytime soon?
Come January, Princess Cruises will enforce a fleet-wide ban on smoking in passenger staterooms and on private balconies. The announcement comes following company research results showing that smokers comprise just a small minority of the line’s passengers, and that the majority of cruisers value having a smoke-free environment onboard. These new regulations echo popular concerns and regulation changes in many public places and businesses on terra firma and follows suit for several other major cruise lines: Holland America and Royal Caribbean will put the same regulations into effect on the same date, while Disney has never allowed smoking in its staterooms. Carnival launched smoke-free rooms in January of this year, while Celebrity ended smoking in cabins back in late 2009. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only major holdout – while they have kept all public areas smoke-free, smokers can still indulge cigarettes in their designated staterooms or on their private verandahs.
What do you think Cruise News readers? Is this a welcomed change or an unwelcomed jab at vacation freedoms?
Windstar Cruises has a new captain. Purchased by Xanterra Parks and Resorts on May 25, the cruise line will be “financially stronger and well-positioned for long-term profitability and success,” according to Hans Birkholz, Windstar CEO. It will also maintain its customer programs and policies, as well as honor Windstar fares and reservations (including charter contracts). Windstar’s three-ship fleet sails to nearly 50 nations with 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Its smaller two yachts carry just 148 guests, providing an intimate onboard experience, while its largest ship accommodates 312 guests. With a history of outstanding hospitality dating back to 1876 (with the Fred Harvey Company), Xanterra intends to continue Windstar’s legacy of “exceptional luxury travel experiences and the highest level of service.”
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The hidden costs of most all-inclusive tours can quickly add up once you factor in gratuities, shore excursions, and single supplements. Not so with Smithsonian Journeys, which has just announced three new all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise deals that include: international airfare, shore excursions in each port, on-board lectures, gratuities to shipboard staff, and more. Unlike most cruises (where you won’t need any brainpower beyond what’s required for reading the latest trashy magazines poolside), be prepared to learn on these cruises, as they are run by the world-famous Smithsonian Institution’s travel branch.
The cruises offered are fairly lengthy, in order to allow cruisers to have ample time to explore the amazing cultural sites throughout the Mediterranean. Choose from:
“The Wonders of Turkey and the Greek Isles” (June 23-July 6) or “The Glories of Greece and Turkey” (July 1-14), which both stop in the Greek Islands of Crete, Delos, Mykonos and Samos; the historic Turkish cities of Ephesus and Aprodisias; and World Heritage sites in Athens and Istanbul. Land stops in Istanbul and Athens are also included. Book either one of these cruises by March 31st, and pay only $3,195 (which includes international airfare from select East Coast cities).
Or pay a little bit more ($3,750) and try the “Splendors of Italy and the Dalmatian Coast” (May 31-June 15), featuring the Italian cities of Rome, Corsica, Sardinia, Venice and Sicily; the tiny country of Malta; and Croatia’s Dubrovnik and Split.
All three cruises will take place on-board the 350-passenger Aegean Odyssey, which features a spa, pool, library, lecture theater, and a variety of dining options. Be sure to take advantage of Smithsonian Journeys’ unique lecture programs with on-board experts, to help you learn about what you’ll be seeing off the boat. Or, just hang out at one of the Odyssey’s three bars – your call.
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