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If Sick, May It Be On A Cruise Ship

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been at least three reports of airlifting cruise passengers from ships for medical reasons…obviously emergencies.

A week ago, on the Carnival Triumph, an eight-month-old baby was having seizures and had to be airlifted to Houston.

Earlier in the month, a 51-year-old woman on the Carnival Magic was taken from the ship by helicopter 180 miles from Galveston after suffering from respiratory problems.

Also last month, near New Zealand, a 23-year-old passenger had a suspected heart attack and was flown from the Seabourn Odyssey to a hospital.

The bottom line is what one ship’s doctor told us last year.

“The best place to have a heart attack, or many other medical problems, is on a cruise ship,” he said. “You pick up the phone in your stateroom, call the medical center, and we’re in your room within minutes. And we have all the equipment needed to deal with such emergencies.”

And when necessary, to bring in a helicopter.

That doesn’t mean medical emergencies always have happy endings. It just means there’s a good chance that they will.

And of course this applies to the thousands of people who work on ships, too.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
3 nights
April 24, 2015
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau, Coco Cay
Inside: $284
Cost per day: $94
www.royalcaribbean.com

Deal Too Good, Too Late To Be True

Normally, we let our “Daily Deal” deliver some value cruises for you to consider but once in a while there’s something extraordinary that deserves an even better treatment…A couple Allureof days ago we had one — you do notice that’s past tense, right?…It was a Transatlantic trip on Allure of the Seas, the (starting) price was $659 with 50 per cent off for the second guest, plus up to $200 for an on-board credit…For 12 days, it worked out to less than $50 a day on one of the two biggest cruise ships in the world, as long as bookings were made by January 31…Well, guess what?…Today is January 20, and it’s no longer available…Obviously, eagle-eyed consumers snapped up the rooms but it does leave you wondering how many Royal Caribbean made available in the promotion.

Now here’s a clever idea: When the AIDAsol arrived in Vietnam this week, immigration AIDAsolofficials boarded the ship at Buoy 1, three hours before docking at Tan Cang-Cai Mep, to process the 2,176 passengers, most of them German…By the time the AIDA ship reached the port, the process was finished and passengers were able to disembark right away…On their most recent health inspections, in Fort Lauderdale, two Holland America ships — the Noordam and the Zuiderdam — were perfect (100) in scores by the Centers for Disease Control.

The line-up for the Olympics has begun…The Norwegian Getaway is first in the line-up of cruise ships for Rio de Janeiro, where the Summer Games will be staged in 2016…The Getaway will be impersonating a hotel from August 5-21 next year, just like its smaller Getawaysibling, the Jade, did at the 2012 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia…With a capacity close to 4,000, the Getaway will help take some of the stress off Rio’s hotels, at the same time providing its “passengers” with luxurious accommodation and presumably earning a few “reals” — you didn’t know that’s what Brazilian currency was called, did you? — for the cruise line…The Getaway has experience at this, having served as a floating hotel at last year’s Super Bowl in New York…It doesn’t hurt that Getaway’s ambiance and treatment are decidedly Spanish.

Super BowlFile this one in the “When Will It End?” drawer…In a major Canadian newspaper (Toronto Star) there was a story about Carnival’s advertising on TV during the Super Bowl next week, and the second paragraph read: “Carnival, of course, is the line whose ship, Triumph, became a PR disaster in early 2013, when it got stuck at sea for almost a week due to an engine fire”…Seriously?…That was two years ago and, after all the things Carnival has done to restore its public stature, the cruise line hardly needed a Super Bowl ad to make image amends.

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival's latest technology

Carnival Triumph
10 nights
February 20, 2015
San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix, Falmouth, Galveston
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $54
www.carnival.com

Carnival Sale On Internet Overload

If ever a cruise line needs to fill up a ship quickly, or a bunch of them, Carnival just did it. The premise is simple: Everybody loves a deal.

So on Tuesday, Carnival announced a “35-hour sale.” It was actually a 35-35 sale…35 hours to buy a cruise for $35 a day (starting prices).

How much did the people like it?

In the first six hours, so anxious were consumers to break the bank that they broke the website.

The demand crashed carnival.com. Within a couple of hours, it was fixed and the sale of select cruises from December through March resumed. It runs through midnight tonight Carnival Freedomand this is not a big deal for one ship, or one port. For example, here’s a few of the per-day, per-passenger prices (some even better) that we found once the website was re-started:

$25Los Angeles (return) to Catalina and Ensenada, four nights (December 1-5) on the Inspiration

$28Fort Lauderdale (return) to Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel (December 7-13) on the Freedom

$34Miami (return) to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas, seven nights (January 10-17) on the Glory

$35Galveston (return) to Progreso and Cozumel, five nights (December 15-20) on the Triumph

$43Miami (return) to Ocho Rios, Grand Turk and Nassau, six nights (February 22-28, on the Breeze

Clearly, Carnival wants to fill empty beds. Chances are the cruise line can still make a profit at these prices, because passengers do spend money once they’re on the ship.

But with this sale, getting there is a bargain.

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America's new look

Caribbean Princess
4 nights
January 22, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Princess Cays 
Inside: $289
Cost per day: $72
www.princess.com

Cruising Suffering From Norovirus, Too

We know people on cruise ships can be sick of being sick. Can it be that cruise-blog readers are sick of reading stories about people being sick on ships?

Here we go again…

On almost the same day that passengers and crew on the Crown Princess were reported to be suffering from norovirus, a Harris Poll that was conducted after outbreaks on three ships showed how the public feels about major cruise brands because of the disease.

First, the latest news from the ship…

Carrying 3,141 passengers, Princess Cruises confirmed that more than 100 people were sick and that testing proved norovirus (gastrointestinal illness) was present.

Now, the poll…

Trust in cruise lines dropped 12 per cent and purchase intent 13 per cent across seven major brands, among them Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Worse yet, public perception levels were even lower than they were after the much-Explorer of the Seaspublicized fire and debacle aboard the Carnival Triumph last year. The poll was conducted shortly after 700 people on Explorer of the Seas were ill with norovirus.

Coincidentally, at least to us, the Crown Princess and Explorer of the Seas are two ships we've been on in the last year. 

It wasn't us…honest!

Today at portsandbows.com: Expansion of the rivers of America

Sun Princess
12 nights
May 31, 2014 
Kobe (return): NazeOkinawaIshigakiHualien 
Inside: $1,099
Cost per day: $91
www.princess.com

Covering The Caribbean From One Ship

– map by cartographer Karl Musser

When taking a Caribbean cruise — the most popular cruises anywhere — sometimes the trick can be to find ports less-visited. That's less-visited by you.

As interesting as places like Nassau and Cozumel and Barbados are, how many visits are too many?

Carnival has an interesting twist, set for late next year and early 2016.

You can take a cruise from the "heartland" of American cruising, Galveston, to the heart of the Caribbean, San Juan. It's an 11-day trip with six port stops. And then you can cruise back, with six more ports in 10 days.

That's three weeks on the ship, which will be the Triumph, and 12 ports. And here's the best part: Only one port is a repeat. In other words, you can see 11 places in the Caribbean on the same trip…okay, a two-in-one cruise.

The concept is not all that's new for Carnival. So are many of the ports. Carnival ships have never been to Bonaire and have rarely taken passengers to Antigua, Grenada and Martinique. Also on the port agenda are Aruba, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten (once each way), Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Kitts and Half Moon Cay.

Get out your map and take a look. Draw a line through the Caribbean from Miami and around the east end of the world's most famous islands and back via Grand Cayman and you'll see that you'll see a generous part of the entire Caribbean.

There are only two opportunities. The Triumph will leave Galveston in October (2015) and again in January (2016), with the return trips in October and late January, respectively.

You can do one of the two, of course, but that means flying to or from San Juan. Double up, and forget the air fare.

Oh yes, you do need a three-week vacation.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
12 nights
May 24, 2014
Venice (return): OlympiaAthensIstanbulLesbosEphesusSantoriniArgostoli
Inside: $929
Cost per day: $77
www.hollandamerica.com

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