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Hawaii To Chase More Cruising

Such is the popularity of cruising that even Hawaii wants more of it. Called Paradise more than any other place on earth by first-time visitors (at least in our circles), Hawaii has always had one toe in the water when it comes to cruising, in part because it’s one of the United States…but that’s another story.

Hawaii is looking to hire a consultant to stimulate cruise business. With more ships heading to the Far East, Hawaii would surely appreciate having them stop off, say hello and leave behind some tourist dollars. The 50th state wants that person in place by October 1 before greener pastures like Cuba and China get an even bigger piece of the cruise pie.

Presently, Norwegian’s 2,100-passenger Pride of America cruises exclusively around the Hawaiian Islands, and it’s usually sold out. Un-Cruise Adventures does, too, with a 36-passenger yacht called Safari Explorer. Those ships are allowed — and this is the other story — because as U.S.-flagged ships they don’t have to touch the land of another country. They also have to employee all U.S. workers.

So the chances of another cruise line dispatching a ship to do the same thing would require legislative chance that’s unlikely to happen. The alternative then, for this consultant to be hired, is to lure big ships crossing the Pacific to make Hawaii a regular stop.

With Hawaii’s ecological bent, with the likelihood it would require larger port facilities and with the disruption heavy cruise traffic might have on its ocean life, this might be a tougher sell than a consultant imagines.

Even for Paradise.

In the news…

• Eleven injured after cargo vessel collides with river ship in Dusseldorf, Germany

Today at portsandbows.com: River cruising in the U.S.

Holland America Westerdam
7 nights
November 14, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $409
Cost per day: $58
www.hollandamerica.com

Friday File: Norwegian’s Hulls Of A Show

They weren’t always so, well, outlandish. But the more unusual they became, the more the hull art on Norwegian’s ships started to look like a competition where the next one had to be more jaw-dropping or eye-catching than the last. That brings us to the Norwegian Escape, the 14th and newest ship in the fleet, come October 25. Below is the hull art applied this month to the ship’s bow — on both sides — from artist Guy Harvey, followed by the more for your perusal and assessment (the eight ships here are arranged chronologically, from newest to oldest)…

S693_Escape_Guy Harvey_Artwork-Shooting_2015_07_28

Thumbs-up from the artist, accompanied by Norwegian President Andy Stuart at the shipyard where the Escape is being finished.

2014-Getaway

The Getaway is Miami’s ship, a connection that well-known Cuban-American artist David La Batard painted in his impressionistic style.

2013-Breakaway-Peter-Max

In 2013, famous New York artist Peter Max was commissioned to dress up the Breakaway, unmistakably New York’s ship.

2010-Epic

When the Epic arrived in 2010, its hull art was decidedly non-descript, which its critics (we are not among them) say is appropriate.

2007-Gem

While it might take some imagination to figure out the ship’s name by its art, the Gem in 2007 was the flagship, status that lasted three years.

2005-Pride

Cruising exclusively around Hawaii, Pride of America sports all the trappings of flag-waving as the world’s only U.S.-registered cruise ship.

2001-Sun

One of three ships in the fleet that didn’t have hull at birth, the Sun was decorated in its bright colors in 2004, three years after its maiden cruise.

2002-Dawn

This is where it all began, with the new Norwegian Dawn in 2004, when she was christened in Manhattan by actress Kim Cattrall.

In the news…

• Norwegian Cruise Holdings signs unprecedented 15-year lease with Port of Seattle
• No changes yet in Mariner of the Seas departure from Tianjin port after explosions
• Cruise Lines International Association President/CEO resigns after five weeks

Today at portsandbows.com: First Carnival readings of new Seuss book

Costa Mediterranea
7 nights
November 13, 2015
Venice (return): Trieste, Split, Kotor, Argostoli, Corfu, Dubrovnik
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $79
www.costacruise.com

Cruise To Nowhere Going Nowhere

Shame on us…

For years, anybody who knows anything about cruising was quickly “educated” about The Jones Act. In a nutshell, it’s a rule that forces all cruise ships originating in the U.S. to make at least one stop at an international port. It also forces cruise ships registered in America to employ only U.S. citizens (or residents with work visas), which is why Pride of Pride of AmericaAmerica is the only notable cruise ship registered in the U.S.

Shame on us…

For who-knows-how-many-years, “cruises to nowhere” have openly been promoted, sold and enjoyed — specifically but not exclusively by Carnival. They’re on cruise ships that leave a port, sail around in international waters for a day or three and return without making a port call. 

Shame on us…

This week, the U.S. Government ruled that as of 2016, cruise ships will no longer be allowed to do that. A spokesperson told Cruise Critic: “…it has been the longstanding position of CBP [Customs and Border Protection] that D-1 visa holders are not eligible to serve as crew members on cruises to nowhere” and “a D-1 visa holder is eligible to serve as a crew member on a vessel only if the crew member 'intends to land [in the United States] temporarily and solely in the pursuit of his calling as a crewman and to depart from the United States with the vessel.”

Shame on us…

For not being able to understand that gobblydegook, which effectively means all cruise ships would have to employ only U.S. workers on these “cruises to nowhere.” You can argue the merits or demerits of this 80-year-old legislation all you want, but the bottom line is that smarter minds than ours — they are countless — knew that The Jones Act meant cruise ships leaving the U.S. had to make one international port call (aka, Ensenada, Victoria, Vancouver).

Shame…

On the other hand, how long did it take the U.S. Government to figure it out?

In the news…

• AIDA Carnival's choice for first two new mega ships in 2019
• Holland America Noordam rescue ship for disabled sightseeing boat
• Royal Caribbean appoints president for China & North Asia region

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival to have world's biggest ships

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
October 24, 2015
San Juan (return): Tortola, Fort-de-France, Roseau, St. Kitts, St. Thomas
Inside: $529
Cost per day: $75
www.celebritycruises.com

Friday File: Why Wildlife Is A Winner

Have you ever noticed that the best TV commercials, even the ones on Super Bowl Sunday, often feature animals? For whatever reason, any kind of wildlife captures our imaginations, or at least our camera lens, and that’s why among the thousands of pictures we’ve taken while on cruises, so many of them are of a creature who won’t pose, doesn’t consent to having its photo taken and can’t charge photographers for royalties…

Costa Rica-bird

Help us here, people…if we ever knew what kind of bird this was in Costa Rica, we’ve forgotten.

Alaska-iditarod

Cruising Alaska this summer? Watch for an Iditarod dog: They’re noisy, scrawny and friendly.

Hawaii-monk seal

Pride of America passengers may see one of these monk seal, protected on the beach at Lihue, Kauai.

Roatan-cat

This Coxen Hole cat in Roatan, Honduras, gave us this steely glare throughout lunch, then cleaned our plates.

SF-sea lions

Pier 39 in San Francisco always comes with more sea lions than you can imagine, barking and posing, of course.

Today at portsandbows.com: Norwegian backtracks on food to rooms

Holland America Oosterdam
7 nights
July 19, 2015
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Anchorage
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71
www.hollandamerica.com

Norwegian's All-Inclusive Cost Confusing

Norwegian’s often first with innovations and this month brings another one: A new twist on an all-inclusive cruise package.

It’s available on all Norwegian ships but Pride of America in 2015, but bookings must be made by August 29. Also excluded are European and United Kingdom cruises.

The cruise line is quick to point out that its all-inclusive package delivers more than $2,400 in value, per stateroom. Everything from signature dining every night, alcoholic NCL inclusivebeverages, unlimited soda, Internet access (250 minutes), shore excursion credits, gratuities…

It applies on cruises of three to 14 days.

The cost is $899.

What the cruise line didn’t make clear in the announcement was whether that’s $899 per stateroom or $899 per person. There was no mention of “per person” and the benefits of $2,400 were “per stateroom.” Logical that the cost would also be “per stateroom.”

Not so fast.

A little digging on Norwegian’s website produced the only line that gives it all away: “save up to $600.” So do the math — $2,400 in benefits per stateroom minus $1,800 per stateroom in charges…

Once again, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Today at portsandbows.com: Celebrity’s Signature Sailings

Celebrity Century
8 nights
October 22, 2014
Sydney (return): MelbourneAdelaidePort Lincoln
Inside $399
Cost per day: $49
www.celebritycruises.com

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