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Turkey Ports A Victim Of Fear

We’ve never been on a cruise ship that stopped in Turkey. Now, chances are we never will. Such is the cruise climate in this volatile part of the world, even though Istanbul and Kusadesi aren’t in the same area code as places bordering on Syria, where there are daily fears of terrorist attacks.

On the weekend, Crystal Cruises announced Turkey was persona non grata. The Crystal Symphony was scheduled to call at the two popular Turkish ports in late April and early May, but not now. The itineraries have been revised due to the “safety and peace of mind Espritof our guests” and the Symphony will make two more stops in Greece instead. The same goes for Crystal Esprit, a future ship (above) with itineraries that were going to include Turkey. The same goes for Disney cruises that once included Istanbul.

If there’s any irony in this, it’s that avoiding Turkey isn’t exactly the antidote for safety. It’s true that a suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this month, an act that was obviously the trigger for Crystal’s decision. It’s also true that tourists have either been murdered or in danger of being murdered in Tunisia, and in Paris.

Tourists feel danger everywhere, because murderous attacks strike fear in the hearts and minds of the free world’s population. But it’s all about playing the odds, isn’t it? And in a country that’s geographically close to the troubled Middle East, the odds of being a victim seem higher.

Such is life in today’s world.

In the news…

• Sea trials completed for Holland America Koningsdam
• More Australians than ever booking cruises on P&O ships

Today at portsandbows.comTwo ships coming for Emerald Waterways


Star Princess
7 nights
May 14, 2016
Vancouver (return): Sitka, Glacier Bay, Juneau, Ketchikan
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99
www.princess.com

New ship No. 7 — Seven Seas Explorer

Seventh in a series of new ships for 2016

A year and a half ago, Regent Seven Seas became the luxury wing of Norwegian Cruise Holdings, which owns two other cruise lines, Norwegian and Oceania. The Explorer will become Regent’s poster child for luxury, according to parent CEO Frank Del Rio, who said the Explorer will be “the most luxurious cruise ship ever built, boasting one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios ever seen in the modern era of cruising.”

Launch date: July 20

Capacity: 738

Sister ships: None

Maiden voyage: Monte Carlo to Venice (14 nights)

Home port: None

Ships then in Regent Seven Seas fleet: 4

Interesting: The Explorer, physically, is about 15 per cent bigger than the fleet’s largest ship, the Seven Seas Mariner, which years ago became the first all-balcony, all-suite cruise ship in the world. However, Explorer will carry only 38 more passengers (738) and will display luxury at every turn: exotic stones and polished woods in its design, six gourmet restaurants, a Culinary Arts Kitchen that mirrors world-renowned French cooking schools, and wine-and-food Gourmet Explorer Tours in the south of France that can run as high as $799 per person. For most rank-and-file cruisers, it’s too affluent unless they win Powerball tomorrow night.

In the news…

• Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian 1-2-3 in passenger capacity for 2016
• MSC Opera to cruise from Havana, Cuba year-round beginning next year
• Two consecutive years of processing a million passengers for New Orleans

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruise advertising slogans


Crown Princess
7 nights
February 27, 2016
San Francisco (return): Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
Inside: $509
Cost per day: $72
www.princess.com

New ship No. 4 — Carnival Vista

Fourth in a series of new ships for 2016

Ship-Vista

Carnival hasn’t had a new ship in either three years or four, depending on whether you consider the re-building and name change of the Sunshine a new ship. When the Vista comes along this spring, it will launch a new class of the same name and it will give Carnival its biggest ship with almost 4,000 passengers…and obviously a more modern ship than the last totally new one, the Breeze in 2012.

Launch date: May 1

Capacity: 3,954

Sister ships: None

Maiden voyage: Dubrovnik to Barcelona (13 days)

Home port: Miami

Ships then in Carnival fleet: 24

Interesting: The world’s biggest cruise line is getting into the boardwalk-style of design by “bringing you closer to the sea” at the Havana Bar & Pool, SkyRide at SportSquare and Seafood Shack. It also claims to have the first IMAX theater at sea and staterooms designed for “Cuban culture lovers” sailing the Caribbean…hmm, could this become Carnival’s first cruise ship for Cuba one day? Like almost all new ships, its first sea days will be in Europe, crossing the Atlantic to settle at home in Miami by year’s end. The first Vista Class ship will also have a 450-foot waterslide, 20 places to eat and/or drink and a working micro-brewery at the RedFrog Pub.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news


Grand Princess
10 nights
February 23, 2016
San Francisco (return): Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $64
www.princess.com

A Toast To Cruising 2016!

Best wishes for safe and happy cruising in 2016
from Bob and Nancy


Crown Princess
4 nights
February 9, 2016
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada
Inside: $229
Cost per day: $59
www.princess.com

The Impact Of The Cost Of Fuel…?

The price of oil fell to $36.51 on Friday, far from when analysts were speculating it might go as high as $200. The national average for gasoline in the U.S. is now below $2 per gallon for the first time since the horse and buggy, it seems.

Cruise experts like our pal Phil Reimer say cruise prices are on the rise. Cruise lines are reporting enormous profits in their financials…how enormous is Carnival’s $2.1 billion net profit for 2015?

Are we missing something here?

A major cost for cruise lines is going down and the cost of cruising is going up?

Some airlines still include fuel surcharges in the price of tickets. While none we know of have that audacity, some cruise lines still have the option of doing the same thing. Some government postal services still add it to the price of shipping.

When will it end?

Probably when the people speak with actions…by not using the services of companies that adopt such ridiculous policies — or at least by using them less.

In the news…

• Carnival’s fees for room service to go fleet-wide after three-ship test

Today at portsandbows.comThe Harmony-ous fall from 10 stories


Ruby Princess
7 nights
June 19, 2016
Seattle (return): Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $128
www.princess.com

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