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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

Even Cleaning Standard Cruise Ship Fuel Comes with a Price Tag

The good news on the weekend is that Carnival is going to try and make a cruise ship's fuel cleaner, in order to meet environmental standards going into effect in two years, rather than simply burn cleaner fuel.

Cleaner fuel costs more. That means the cost would trickle down to North American consumers…the Environmental Protection Agency emission standards apply to the coasts of this continent. By cleaning existing fuel, cruise ships will not have to pay more for it.

The bad news, of course, is that while cruisers won't have to pay to cover more expensive fuel, there is a cost attached to cleaning the old stuff so that its exhaust is less of a polluter.

How does $180 million sound…and you think that cost will filter down to your cruise fare?

According to the Miami Herald, which publishes in Carnival Corp's home port, that's what is being invested in new technology to clean up on exhaust. While it's being tested on 32 of the corporation's ships, the EPA will let Carnival to continue using standard (cheaper) fuel. That means it's going to take at least a couple of years before the technology gets the EPA stamp of approval.

Hopefully, it will work.

There is a question or two:

Why did not just Carnival but all cruise lines need to have its collective feet held to the fire by the EPA before getting serious about reducing fuel emissions? If the EPA hadn't given them a deadline of 2015, would cruise ships have just continued to pollute the atmosphere?

Carnival Valor
7 nights
October 20, 2013
San Juan (return): St. ThomasBarbadosSt. LuciaSt. KittsSt. Maarten
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $51


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