Tag-Archive for » Cruise ship accidents «

Grand Princess, Grand Return

The other day, there was a small fire on the Grand Princess as the big ship was circumventing Hawaii. It was caused by a circuit breaker in the ships’ electrical switchboard. There was some smoke. Nobody was hurt. As these things go, it was relatively minor.

The Grand Princess got the worst of it. Because it was a propulsion circuit breaker, the ship lost some power. Not all, just some. The result is the ship is now on its way back to San

Grand Princess at sea on May 6, 2011 Grand Princess - Princess Cruises

Francisco, at a slower speed than normal. Other than being slowed, it’s fine. No safety concerns, no manoeuvreability concerns.

Passengers were marginally inconvenienced. Two ports — one on Kauai, one on Maui — had to be skipped. The power outage meant emergency lights had to be used, briefly. Air conditioning was temporarily limited.

So what does Princess do?

This was a 15-day cruise. Passengers who wanted to leave Hawaii were flown home, at the cruise line’s expense. Passengers who stayed on board  were given credit towards another Princess cruise, plus a full refund.

Kind of makes you wish you were on the Grand Princess, doesn’t it?

In the news…

• Seven months before first ship arrives, Crystal inaugural river cruises hot tickets

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Carnival Pride
13 nights
January 2, 2017
Baltimore, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Cartagena, Panama Canal, Limon, Mahogany Bay, Cozumel, Tampa
Oceanview: $929
Cost per day: $71
www.carnival.com

Lest We Forget The Lusitania

Today is the day to remember the Lusitania.

Lusitania?

If there hadn’t been a Titanic, you’d know all about the Lusitania. It sank 100 years ago today, courtesy of a torpedo, and if the Titanic had missed that iceberg three years earlier, Lusitania would have been the word by which all cruise-ship disasters at sea would be measured.

There’s surely nobody left old enough to remember the Lusitania’s demise.

Cunard, at 175, is…and with good reason. The Lusitania was the first of 22 Cunard ships that were sunk during World War I, by then just a year old. Today, 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland, near Cobh, Cunard’s Queen Victoria will hover over the Lusitaniaapproximate spot where the Lusitania went down. There will be floral tributes. Its whistles will sound. Chances are the Queen Victoria will linger for 18 minutes, because that’s how long it took for the old ship to disappear into the depths at 10 minutes past two that afternoon.

At the time, it was apparently the most famous ship in the world, heading from Liverpool to New York. Along with sister ship Mauritania, this was the first of what were called “floating palaces.” Many of the passengers were from the Liverpool area, Cunard’s original home. A church service and minute of silence were planned, along with a walk past the Lusitania’s propeller.

On the Queen Mary, in the midst of a 7-day memorial cruise, there is a Lusitania exhibition, assembled by Eric Sauder, who has dived onto the wreck and who was once a tour guide on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Sauder has written two books on the ship, the release of the second to coincide with today’s anniversary.

David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line, provided some context for the ship: “Her story was also one of triumph in the technical achievement of her construction and her glittering career from 1907 until the outbreak of war.”

That career began five years before the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage in April 1912. Cobh was the last port before both ships crossed the ocean on the trip to New York. On the Titanic, 1,517 people perished. On the Lusitania, 1,190 perished.

But the Titanic was first. As such, its name is forever memorialized and Lusitania’s is not. She is remembered only on anniversaries like today.

In the news…

• Carnival's brands donate $200,000 to Nepal earthquake relief
• All-inclusive suite class coming to Royal Caribbean in 2016 [Travel Weekly]
• Freestyle Choice freebies for Norwegian cruisers who book this month
• Mexico building a cruise home port southwest of Phoenix [Arizona Republic]

Today at portsandbows.com: Flight deals to get to Silver Galapagos

Norwegian Jade
7 nights
June 6, 2015
Venice (return): Dubrovnik, Athens, Ephesus, Split
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92
www.ncl.com

Baby’s Cries Save Man Overboard

Any parent will likely agree nothing good can happen when a baby cries and cries and cries in the middle of the night.

Until now.

Heather and Daniel Felton of Louisville took their 13-month-old daughter on a Disney cruise. In the middle of a January night, little Katherine delivered one of those early wake-up calls that exhaust parents, and in this case a trip out onto the deck seemed wise, if only to keep from waking the neighbors.

And that’s when the unimaginable happened…

It was early enough that only the three of them were on the deck of the Disney Magic. The ship was off the coast of Mexico, near Cozumel. The Feltons heard a noise from the water. Disney MagicThen they heard it again. They ran to the rail and looked down, where a man in the water was going by and calling for help.

She alerted the crew. Within 30 minutes, the ship had turned around and launched a (hopefully) rescue operation.

"The odds of him being rescued, being seen…it was a little too much…I know Heather got emotional," Daniel told Lexington TV station Lex18.com.

Crew members jumped into a small rescue craft, found the victim, identified as Frank Jade, and brought him on board. He’d fallen off Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. He’d been in the water for five hours. When he left the Magic at Punta Lagosta, one of Cozumel’s piers, Jade was reported to be stable with no serious injuries.

While in the water, Jade said he was shocked nobody noticed that he’d gone overboard. Cruise law attorney Jim Walker said Royal Caribbean should be embarrassed that “it lost a passenger at sea” and that the cruise line “has made no efforts to comply” with [safety rules] which require “the installation of overboard systems” on Oasis of the Seas.

Meanwhile, Baby Katherine is being celebrated as the world’s first 13-month-old lifesaver.

Today at portsandbows.com: Silversea stepping up

Norwegian Getaway
7 nights
February 7, 2015
Miami (return): St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Nassau
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64
www.ncl.com

From Something Bad, Something Good

In the interests of balanced reporting or commentary, here’s a good and bad (or bad and good) item about cruise ship safety.

Bad…

The captain of the late Costa Concordia is on trial right now, and that revives the memories of the tragedy off the island of Giglio on Friday the 13th almost three years ago. The captain’s Concordia routedefense is that he took the ship off course — and ultimately onto rocks that led to the deaths of 32 people — because (a) he wanted to salute a retired captain living on Giglio (b) it was a favor to the ship’s head waiter, who was from Giglio and (c) there was commercial value in doing a “fly-by” that would impress passengers, something he had “often” done.

Good…

Funded by the European Union, the Lynceus Project — winner of the 2014 Lloyd's List Global Award for “Innovation” — has developed a way to track people on ships in an emergency by embedding wireless tags in life jackets. This will allow the ship’s crew to pinpoint the exact location of every person on board, as well as the location of anybody who has fallen overboard. Results have been submitted to the International Maritime Organization with the hope the devices will soon be used on cruise ships and ferries.

The project was a direct result of two crashes: the Concordia and a ferry full of school children, last April in South Korea.

Today at portsandbows.com: Azamara serves long notice

Holland America Eurodam
7 nights
January 4, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.hollandamerica.com

Lifeboat Fatality Raises A Question 

There was a bad cruise-ship accident a couple of weeks ago. It was on the Coral Princess, a ship we cruised on a couple of years ago. It involved a lifeboat, perhaps one that was on the Coral Princess a couple of years ago.

Two crew members fell into the water inside a lifeboat. One of them died. The other is in hospital with injuries. That makes it a bad accident…not that there are ever any good ones.

The ship was in Colon, Panama at the time. The crew members were doing maintenance to Coralthe ship’s hull, from a lifeboat. As the lifeboat was being raised back into position, a cable snapped and the lifeboat plunged into the water.

As with all accidents, there is a tendency to say…these things happen.

But this one raises a serious question.

Lifeboats carry as many as 300 people at once. If a cable snaps with two people in a lifeboat, even if the accident was due to human error, how safe are lifeboats when carrying 200 or 300 passengers?

Today at portsandbows.com: Regal Princess — now it’s official!

Norwegian Sky
3 nights
November 28, 2014
Miami (return): Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay
Inside: $129
Cost per day: $43
www.ncl.com

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