Tag-Archive for » itinerary changes «

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

Shipless In Barcelona And Everybody Wins

Of all the reasons we've heard for a change in cruise itineraries, one that we read about on the weekend was new. It was also kind of win-win.

The P&O ship Oceana was at its scheduled stop in Barcelona when the cruise line discovered a repair was necessary. Not a safety-concern repair but one that had to Oceana-1be addressed nonetheless. There was a leak in the seal around a propeller and it was going to take frogmen — okay, divers — almost three full days to fix it.

So the ship was stuck, in Barcelona. The passengers were stuck, in Barcelona.

Poor passengers.

Anybody who has been to the Spanish port knows it's easy to spend three days in Barcelona. Also fun.

The delay also means the passengers won't get to three other Spanish ports: Cartagena, Alghero and La Courna. In return, P&O gave passengers a 25 per cent cash refund and a comprehensive entertainment program and shore excursions in Barcelona.

Talk about making a silk purse from a sow's ear!

Today at portsandbows.com: Not exactly the CATS meow!

Carnival Conquest
7 nights
April 27, 2014
Miami (return): NassauSt. ThomasSan JuanGrand Turk
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.carnival.com

Rhapsody of the Seas…is this music to its ears?

You have to wonder what Rhapsody of the Seas thinks about this: In 2015, Royal Caribbean is sending it to Turkey instead of Alaska. Did anybody ask the ship how it feels about sacrificing a summer in The Inside Passage for a summer in Istanbul?

Rhapsody of the Seas in AlaskaFurthermore….

Two lengthy cruises that were scheduled before it even reached Alaska have been changed. In April 2015, Rhapsody was scheduled to sail for 16 days from Australia to Hawaii. Not any more. Following that, it was slated to leave Honolulu on a 13-night trip to Vancouver. That's past tense…was.

How would you if somebody told you that you'd be spending a month in the (South) Pacific, and then you wouldn't?

Admittedly, leaving Sydney for Singapore on a 16-nighter isn't a bad alternative, and following it up by coupling a two-week cruise to Dubai and a 15-night sailing to Istanbul is, well, interesting or even fascinating. But skipping Hawaii is like skipping Christmas.

Rhapsody has been around for 16 years, so she's probably seen it all. There are no surprises. She's even been tucked and tweaked a couple of times (in Hollywood they're called facelifts), most recently the year before last at a cost of $16 million. 

The change in plans also affects passengers booked on Rhapsody, but Royal Caribbean is giving them a full refund or a South Pacific cruise on another ship, Radiance of the Seas.

That's probably small consolation to Rhapsody. Taking Hawaii and Alaska away from her is kind of…un-Rhapsody-like.

And without even asking.

Holland America Zuiderdam
11 nights
December 9, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon CayArubaCuracaoCartagenaPanama CanalColonPuerto Limon
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $49
www.hollandamerica.com

Noordam Passes on Israel

 

When it comes to cruising in the Middle East, clearly some things will never change. On Monday, Holland America directed the Noordam past a scheduled stop in Haifa, Israel. On Tuesday, the same thing in Jerusalem.

Cruising to Middle Eastern countries is as predictable as talks between the Palestinians and Israelis…as what Syria might do next…as which country is the newest hotspot for Al Qaeda.

This week, it was Syria.

"As a result of the uncertainties of possible military action against Syria and the potential of resulting Syrian attacks on Israel, we have cancelled the scheduled calls of ms Noordam to Israel."

That was not a statement from a high-ranking diplomat. That was a statement from a Holland America spokesperson.

The cruise line added two stops in Turkey and one in Greece to make up for missing Israel. It also refunded shore excursions and gave passengers a 15 per cent credit for a future cruise. None of that makes up for missing a chance to see the Holy Land.

The Noordam's next visit to Haifa is scheduled for October 25.

But as always, who knows?

Carnival Conquest
8 nights
November 16, 2013
San JuanSt. KittsDominicaSt. MaartenAntiguaGrand TurkMiami
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $44
www.carnival.com

 

Norwegian Charters Mean Changes

There was a story on Cruise Critic yesterday that puts all those feel-good testimonials and events that cruise lines shower on their passengers into proper perspective.

"Passengers, you're the best…unless we get a better deal."

The story is about canceling cruises to accommodate private charters on two Norwegian ships and if you choose to think that's all about money, well, go right ahead. 

Norwegian is moving the Jade from the Mediterranean to Russia next February and if you're wondering why anybody would want to go to Russia in February, then you don't follow the drumbeat of the Olympic Winter Games, which will be in Sochi. The Jade will be a floating hotel in the Russian seaport during the two weeks of Olympics.

Passengers booked on the Jade in the Mediterranean will be compensated, of course, and the cruise line's right to disrupt travel plans like that is somewhere down in the fine print, isn't it?

The other ship is the Getaway, which isn't even a ship yet. Scheduled to make its inaugural Transatlantic crossing from Rotterdam to Fort Lauderdale in January. Then, and there, the Getaway was to become Miami's ship…but now it's going to be New York's ship for a week, even though its sister ship, the Breakaway, has already been proclaimed "New York's ship."

The reason?

Private event. Translation: a better deal.

This change in plans is a disruption to passengers who booked the Transatlantic voyage expecting to step on the ship in Rotterdam (it's now leaving from Southampton) and to step off the ship in Florida. And the charter in New York also means the Getaway's inaugural cruise to the Caribbean won't leave on February 1 as scheduled, but a week later on February 8.

So the next time you hear cruise-line officials falling all over their passengers, reach for the salt shaker and take a few grains.

Carnival Freedom
6 nights
September 15, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Key WestGrand CaymanOcho Rios
Inside: $279
Cost per day: $46
www.carnival.com

  • Categories

  • Archives