Tag-Archive for » Cunard «

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

Royal Baby Royal Treat For Cunard

 

Ah yes, the Royal Baby. She arrived on the weekend, in case you haven’t heard. Her birth was on the very day that Britain’s three queens of sailing — Victoria, Mary 2, Elizabeth — were launching another celebration: 175 years of Cunard.

The connection was not lost on Cunard.

When the news broke, thee three ships of royal lineage were all in British waters and in unison sounded their whistles three times. The significance of three comes from the “time-honored Magpie rhyme”…

“One for sorrow,
“Two for joy,
“Three for a girl…”

When Royal Baby Girl’s brother George was born two years ago, the three queens must have had scheduling problems because they didn’t blast “four for a boy” in unison. Or at least they weren’t close enough to be in tune.

This time, the timing was ideal.

The cruise line Samuel Cunard founded in 1840 planned this weekend retreat for its three ships long before England’s most famous mother of two even knew her Royal Daughter was on the way. So call it coincidence, luck or celestial intervention…but the perfect little one arrived on the perfect big weekend, when ships named after her ancestors — including her great-grandmother — were within driving distance.

Cunard’s anniversary year was kicked off at the home port, Southampton. Sunday’s royal procession was delayed until Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Anthem of the Seas, had left on its inaugural voyage. The three ships later broke formation on cruises to Hamburg (Queen Elizabeth), Guernsey (Queen Victoria) and New York (Queen Mary 2).

They’ll get together again later this month to take the River Mersey to Liverpool, Cunard’s ancestral home, for an event that’s expected to be watched by a million people on the shoreline.

In the meantime, like everyone else, Cunard’s people are waiting to hear the new queen-to-be’s name…

Elizabeth? Victoria? Mary?

Now that would be TOO much!

In the news…

• Balconies for the price of oceanviews on Anthem of the Seas
• $20 million loan to make Alaska's Icy Straight Point better port by fall
• Silver Whisper fails CDC health inspection with unsatisfactrory score of 82

Today at portsandbows.com: Star Wars to be a hit for Disney

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
12 nights
May 28, 2015
Barcelona (return): Nice, Florence, Rome, Salerno, Venice, Ravenna, Kotor
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $58
www.royalcaribbean.com

Norwegian Gratuities On the Rise

 

If you’re booked to take a Norwegian cruise on a ship that leaves after Saturday, prepare for a little inflation.

Starting Sunday on all sailings, Norwegian’s daily gratuity charges are going up to $12.95 per person ($14.95 if you’re cruising in a suite) and applies even if your cruise is already booked. The increase is less than a buck a day (95 cents) and it’s this cruise line’s first such increase since 2009.

Where does that leave Norwegian in an industry where gratuities are sometimes one of life’s little surprises, except for seasoned cruisers?

Celebrity charges $12 a day, and $15.50 in suites. Carnival also charges $12 and breaks it down for you: $3.90 for stateroom crew, $6.10 for dining room crew and $2 for crew members in the galley, guest services, entertainment. Princess, from the Carnival family, charges $11.50 as does Cunard, another Carnival sibling. Disney does it a little differently, suggesting amounts and breaking them down by length of cruise but in the end — whether it’s three days, four days or seven days — the suggested daily gratuity is $12.

So Norwegian appears to be the first of the mainstream lines to bump it up. There is one break for Norwegian passengers already booked: It stays at $12 if you pre-pay your tips.

Gratuities are always discretionary, but who wants to be the person arguing with the guest services people about why they shouldn’t pay what is already charged to your room?

Today at portsandbows.com: Princess plans for Europe 2016

Carnival Magic
7 nights
April 12, 2015
Galveston (return): Key West, Freeport, Nassau
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61
www.carnival.com

Rockers to perform…on Cunard?

You know you’re getting old when it catches your attention that Crosby, Stills and Nash are going to be performing…because they’re getting old (Crosby 73, Stills 70, Nash 72). What really makes you feel that way is that they’re performing on ships from the fleet of Cunard, the most staid and proper cruise line of all.

Who has moved the dial the most is open to debate, but the gap between three-quarters of the rebellious and arguably most anti-establishment band of the ‘60s and the ultra-CSNestablishment ships of Sir Samuel Cunard has been bridged. By time, for sure, but also by clientele.

The Cunard customers of today remember Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their youth, and while these rockers can still rock, they also have become mellow enough to attract a crowd that’s far more sedate than the ones they played to 45 years ago. Their last album, Looking Forward, is suitable evidence — and it’s 15 years old!

And after all, Graham is a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Indeed.

CSN will board the Queen Mary 2 on September 4 for her one-week cruise from Southampton to New York. The group will perform three times while crossing the Atlantic, and answer questions from and give autographs to their aging groupies. Whether the three Grammy Award-winning artists will dress in tuxes for dinner remains to be seen. Without Neil Young, there is perhaps a chance it could happen.

It is, after all, a long way from Woodstock.

Today at portsandbows.com: The Windstar expansion

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
May 15, 2015
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage  
Inside: $595
Cost per day: $85
www.royalcaribbean.com

Protecting The Privacy Of Passengers

The much-publicized (can you say 24/7 on TV?) hacking at Sony this month once again raised the issue of cyber security in every business, which of course includes cruise lines.

While all of them have to pay close attention to the issue, it appears that Carnival was a little ahead of the curve, hiring a specialist with a long history in a similar position with Supervalu, a $37 billion grocery retail and supply chain.

With good reason.

Carnival the Cruise Line is the tip of the “Internet Iceberg.” Carnival the Corporation is the whole iceberg and it includes the following cruise lines (in case you never knew or have Gary Eppingerforgotten): Holland America, Cunard, Princess, P&O, Seabourn, Costa, AIDA, P&O Australia and Iberocruceros (Spain).

Pretty much a world-wide iceberg, right?

Several months ago, Carnival (the Corporation) hired a security expert, Gary Eppinger. After you strip away his lengthy vice-president’s title and list of responsibilities, his primary duty is to make sure the privacy of passengers on ships from all 10 brands is protected…as much as personal information can be protected.

“Millions of customers go onto our ships every year,” he told Travel Pulse. “We look at our ships as floating cities with gambling, hospitals, multiple retail stores, and everything’s connected to your room key. Security is critical for us, because of this huge installed base of customer information. There are things we can do and have done and are doing to put us in a better position to reduce our exposure and risk.”

Reduce? That’s right…there are no absolute guarantees in cyberspace.

“Our navigation systems are in a segregated offline network, so we built controls in place to prohibit things like that happening,” Eppinger explained in the Travel Pulse story. “But with every wall you put up, somebody’s always trying to break in, through or around that wall. We do look at it continuously, and whatever the odds are, they’re still too high.”

Carnival, and every business, knows they are at risk of…becoming another Sony.

Today at portsandbows.com: The most popular 'long' cruises

Carnival Ecstasy
4 nights
February 2, 2015
Miami (return): Key WestCozumel
Inside: $169
Cost per day: $42
www.carnival.com

  • Categories

  • Archives