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Sembcorp Completes Refurbs of Pacific Eden and Aria

Sembcorp Marine has successfully upgraded the Pacific Eden (formerly Statendam) and the Pacific Aria (formerly Ryndam) at its Admiralty Yard, it said in a statement.
The concurrent drydocking of these two cruise vessels at the same shipyard was a first for its operator P&O Cruises (Australia), which is part of the Carnival Corporation and a long-term partner of Sembcorp Marine.
With the sailaway of the Pacific Aria last week, Sembcorp Marine has set a record of 12 cruise ships repaired, upgraded and refurbished in a single year. Besides P&O Cruises (Australia), the customers for these projects were Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Star Cruises and SkySea Cruise Line.
“2015 has been a busy year for Sembcorp Marine in the area of cruise ship refits and upgrading,” said Sembcorp Marine Executive Vice President and Head of Repairs & Upgrades Wong Lee Lin. “Our successful completion of these very challenging projects reinforces Sembcorp Marine’s reputation as a leader in the cruise refit market. This in turn boosts the status of Singapore as a major global cruise hub.”
“We thank our partners and customers for choosing Sembcorp Marine to execute the projects, and for their trust and confidence in our capabilities,” Ms Wong added.
Sembcorp Marine’s customer portfolio today includes Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises – the world’s top two cruise companies – as well as Star Cruises, Asia’s leading cruise line.
Source: Cruise Industry News

Eden: ‘Massive Cruise Season’

More ships in Australian waters are playing right into the hands of a proactive port group in Eden.Six of nine calls scheduled for 2015-2016 are coming from P&O Cruises.
“We are getting better known as a recreational port, with good feedback from previous visits,” said Natalie Godward, cruise manager at Cruise Eden.
Cruise ships can look forward to a new breakwater wharf extension, coming in January 2016.
“The cruise lines are asking that their passengers have a great experience and get a taste of the area,” added Godward. “It is our job to over deliver on their expectations so we keep the ships and passengers coming back for more.”
Popular tours continue to be Eden and Sapphire Coast sight-seeing. Other well-attended excursions include arranged visits to the Whale Museum, national parks and an oyster tasting.
Source: Cruise Industry News

Boudicca Refit Happening This Month at Lloyd Werft

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 880-guest Boudicca will be entering drydock at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany in November 2015, in preparation for the forthcoming 2016/17 cruise season.
Boudicca will arrive in Bremerhaven on Nov. 18 2015 from the Port of Tyne, Newcastle, following a 16-night cruise, and will undergo various engineering work, general refurbishment and interior and exterior painting.
During the drydock, Boudicca will also see 28 cabins on Lido Deck 7 fitted with terrace balconies. These new terrace balcony cabins will extend out 1.2 metres from the ship’s bulkhead.
Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We experience extremely high demand for balcony cabins across our fleet, in particular on a smaller-sized ship such as Boudicca, and our new terrace balcony cabins are an innovative response to this.
“We installed the new terrace balcony cabins on sister ship Black Watch during her dry dock last Autumn, and these have proved very popular with our guests.”     
Source: Cruise Industry News

Cruise Lines Working with Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to Reduce Emissions

This year, Victoria, BC’s Ogden Point, had the best overall air quality readings over a full cruise season since monitoring began in 2009, said a statement from the port. During 2015 there was not a single recorded exceedance of any known local, national or international air emission standard related to cruise ships as measured by the BC Ministry of Environment’s air monitoring station located in James Bay. This year, Victoria welcomed 227 ship calls bringing more than 533,000 passengers and 206,000 crew to the region – a record year. Overall passenger count was up 15% versus 2014. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has partnered with the BC Ministry of Environment, Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Health Authority), and the James Bay Neighborhood Association since 2011 to provide air quality monitoring for SO2 in the James Bay area and over this period, GVHA has provided over $63,000 to maintain the BC Ministry of Environment air monitoring station.  In 2015, no 24-hour period exceeded Island Health, CRD, BC, Canada, World Health Organization 24-hour average guidelines and no 1-hour period exceeded the BC, California, Canada, USA EPA, or EU 1-hour average guidelines. On Jan. 1, 2015, new international maritime regulations (for ships operating within the United Nations’ North American Emission Control Area) came into effect, which legally requires further reductions of ship emissions.  These regulations state that all ships operating in the North American Emission Control Area must use diesel fuel that has a 0.1% sulphur limit. Some cruise lines have been granted exemptions by the Flag State of the ship (in negotiation with US & Canada) by committing to the installation of scrubbers (exhaust gas cleaning technology) that will reduce emissions beyond those achievable with the use of diesel fuel that has a 0.1% Sulphur limit. With the introduction of scrubber technology, Greater Victoria has also economically benefited as cruise lines have chosen the Esquimalt Graving Docks to dry-dock ships and have scrubbers installed along with other major work.  Earlier this year the Crown Princess was in dry-dock to have scrubbers installed and in December, the Ruby Princess is scheduled to have major work done including the installation of scrubbers.  Both of these ships make Victoria a port of call during the cruise season. 
Source: Cruise Industry News

Anthem of the Seas' Inaugural Call: Joy Amid Mourning in Martinique

A capacity Anthem of the Seas arrived in Martinique’s Pointe Simon Monday morning, a just reward for an island dedicating itself to its growing cruise sector. Despite the celebratory mood in Fort-de-France, however, the port area – like the rest of the island – fell silent at 11am to honor and remember the dead in the Paris attacks.
At a plaque-exchanging ceremony aboard the ship, Karine Roy-Camille, chairman of Martinique Tourism Authority, said bringing the ship to the island was a colossal undertaking, and reflective of the kind of cooperative work the world needs to do: “With this, let us realize the biggest project on Earth is possible. I’m talking about peace.”
Anthem of the Seas Capt. Claus Andersen said a similar silent memorial had taken place at sea the previous night, as well as Monday morning.
“We cannot change what has happened,” he said. “But we are here to bring joy and happiness as best we can.”

Years in the making, the inaugural call crowns an embarrassment of recent success for the southern Caribbean island. A record 22 ships will make their first-ever port calls here between Oct. 26 and late summer 2016. Martinique projects a total 220,000 cruise passengers during that period from 176 port calls.
The 4,183 aboard Anthem of the Seas arrived to music and dancers, free samples of local chocolates, and a revitalized Fort-de-France waterfront with new features still under construction.
Source: Cruise Industry News

Crystal Adds Boeing 777 on Top of Previous 787 Commitment

Crystal Cruises has announced the purchase of a Boeing Business Jet B777-200LR, for its expanded brand extension Crystal Luxury Air, it said in a statement.
The announcement comes after Crystal’s news in July of an extensive brand expansion, which will include air vacations around the world aboard a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
In addition to doubling the initial air projections with the expanded aircraft fleet, Crystal will work with the Registry of Aruba in developing and securing an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). This will pave the way for Crystal Luxury Air to launch international operations.
The twin-aisle BBJ B777-200LR will be redesigned to accommodate just 88 guests with flat-bed first class seats; a beautifully appointed lounge and bar; and offer 14- and 28-day around-the-world and international itineraries, beginning in 2017, according to a company statement.
“Our mission is to make Crystal the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand collection, not only for the immediate future, but for years to come,” said Crystal Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. “The acquisition of our second luxury aircraft is another profound step toward establishing our goal.”
“Following our expansion announcement, travelers and travel agents expressed a strong interest in all-inclusive luxury air travel with a wider range of itineraries,” says Crystal’s President and CEO Edie Rodriguez.  “Based on this enthusiastic feedback, we are growing our fleet to meet the demand from our guests and travel partners in luxury air options.”
Source: Cruise Industry News

Gerry Fox’s Top Bridge Tips

Gerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Below, Gerry shares his expert insight on the game.
Majors are more important than minors. This is absolutely true in selecting a final contract; that is, during the captaincy phase of the auction. But, it is patently false when describing what your hand looks like. During description, all four suits are equal.
When answering 1C, it is better to skip over the diamonds to bid a major suit first. Not only does this violate descriptive integrity, it prevents the opener from drawing proper inferences. It is a short-cut to majors with no concern for showing the correct hand pattern. Moreover, it creates rebid problems for the opener that are easily avoided by bidding one-over-one. For example, suppose you hold  xx  KQJx  xx  AQxxx; if you open 1C, consider the situation when your partner responds either 1D, when it’s so easy to rebid 1H, or alternatively 1S, when it is hard to bid the hearts, since 2H would promise extra strength.
The 1C opener might have only a 3-card suit. True enough, but only in about 35% of all cases; 65% of time, the opener will hold four or more club cards. Why assume the worst, when the normal is more likely?
If you have to open a 3-card minor, choose the better one. Unfortunately, this creates as many problems for the diamond suit as now exist for the clubs. Most experts today agree that the only time to open a 3-card diamond suit is with two 4-card majors and just two clubs. This occurs on fewer than 4% of all diamond openers.
If you respond in a minor, you might “lose” a major-suit fit. This is just nonsense. We have so many conventional bids and balancing bids to cover these situations that you lose the suit only when the hand truly belongs to the opponents.
Stay tuned for more bridge tips on our blog and join Oceania Cruises on a bridge cruise in 2016!

Source: Oceania Cruise Line

Voyage Spotlight: Celestial Crossing

Experience the romance of the sea and the pure joy of cruising as you spend 14 blissful nights sailing from Miami to Barcelona aboard Seven Seas Navigator®. From relaxing in complete comfort in your luxurious suite to exploring the famous Rock of Gibraltar, you will create endless memories during this voyage across the Atlantic.  Below is a sampling of memorable moments that await you.

Memorable Moment No. 1: Admiring first-hand the fascinating barrier coral reef that surrounds Bermuda and the colorful array of fish that make the reef their home during an intriguing orientation tour of Bermuda’s West End.

Memorable Moment No. 2: Indulging in a rejuvenating massage and nourishing facial at the legendary Canyon Ranch SpaClub® during one of many glorious days at sea.

Memorable Moment No. 3: Partaking in an interactive discussion led by an expert from The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys.

Memorable Moment No. 4 Discovering the stunning beauty of Madeira’s shoreline from Europe’s highest cliff before enjoying  afternoon tea in the Old World charm of Reid’s Palace Hotel.

Memorable Moment No. 5 Hiking to St. Michael’s Cave and Ape’s Den in Gibraltar to view the Barbary apes and tailless Moroccan monkeys in their natural habitat.

Memorable Moment No. 6 Enjoying juicy Porterhouse Steak, succulent Filet Mignon and great conversation during an entertaining dinner at Prime 7.

Memorable Moment No. 7 Savoring the distinctive cuisine and signature beverages of Catalonia by taking a hands-on cooking class, sampling the area’s wines and cavas, and visiting a farm during a Culinary Creations: Taste of Barcelona Post Cruise Land Program.
Create your very own moments aboard Seven Seas Navigator in March. Celestial Crossing features a specially-priced Business Class Air Upgrade for only $1,299 from Barcelona, while guests in Penthouse Suites and higher receive FREE Business Class Air* from Barcelona.

Source: Regent Seven Seas

Episode 120 – Liberty of the Seas Listener Cruise Review

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Source: Royal Caribbean

Vote For Windstar For Best Cruise Line

Help us win USA Today’s Top 10 Readers’ Choice Awards. We have been nominated for two categories, Best Ocean Cruise Line and Best Boutique Cruise Line. Please help us by going to USA Today’s website and voting for us. Click the button below to go to USA Today’s website  and vote for Windstar.

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Source: Windstar