Monthly Archives: December 2015

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World's largest [upcoming] ship to have Monster Slide

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Category : Cruise

What’s it like to plunge 10 stories while watching the wake of the largest cruise ship in the world?
 
That’s the experience in store for guests on the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, due in June from Royal Caribbean International.
 
Royal Caribbean revealed details of a dual slide it is calling the “Ultimate Abyss.” It was one of the last features to be kept secret on the 5,200-passenger vessel, which is the home stretch of construction in France.
 
The purple stainless steel slides are at the aft end of Harmony, an updated, slightly larger version of 2009’s Oasis of the Seas. They corkscrew down from Deck 16, near the two FlowRider surfing machines, to Deck 5 where the ship’s Aqua Theater is situated. The slides first shoot out over the lip of Deck 16 before curving back underneath to wrap several times around two pillars that support the upper decks over a massive void in the interior of Oasis class ships.
 
“You step out onto a really high, really see-through glass platform, then you go on a mat,” said Alison Frazier, Royal Caribbean’s director of entertainment and guest activities in a YouTube video, “You slide all the way down to the Boardwalk.”
 
Ultimate Abyss is not a waterside, although Harmony of the Seas will have several of those too. “It’s something completely different,” Frazier said.
 
By Tom Stieghorst, Special for USA TODAY
 
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Carnival switching to cage-free eggs for cruise ship meals

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Category : Cruise

Carnival Corp. announced this week that it will begin using only cage-free eggs on all of its ships.
 
The transition, which should be final by 2025, is the result of a partnership between the cruise ship operator and the Humane Society of the United States, Carnival said in a news release.
 
“Carnival Corp. and our brands recognize animal welfare is an important issue for our guests, and addressing it is part of our ongoing commitment to how we operate,” Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corp. chief communications officer, said in the news release. “We have been working with our suppliers in this area, and look forward to continuing our efforts as we work towards our goal of 100 percent cage-free eggs.”
 
Carnival joins a wealth of other corporations moving toward using only cage-free eggs.
 
In 2012, Burger King became the first major fast-food chain to announce it would make the move to cage-free eggs and pork, according to a USA Today report on the announcement.
 
McDonald’s announced in September its plans to go cage-free in its North American restaurants, the Wall Street Journal said.
 
And in November, Taco Bell announced it will use cage-free eggs at all of its locations in the United States by 2017, CNN Money reports.
 
By Kristina Webb, Palm Beach Post
 
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Windstar Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Panama

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Category : Cruise

Windstar Cruises’ 200-passenger boutique cruise ship Star Pride ran aground off of Isla de Coiba, Panama during anchoring maneuvers. 
 
The company said that all guests and crew are safe, but there is hull damage and the vessel is unable to sail. The guests were taken to the island for their planned shoreside itinerary pending the arrival of other vessels to take them to the mainland. 
 
“Because of Isla de Coiba’s remote location [about 20 nm off of Panama], the lack of infrastructure in the area, and the lack of other support vessels, Windstar arranged for her sister ship Star Breeze, along with [Gauguin Cruises’] Tere Moana, to transfer the guests to the mainland. We are grateful and appreciative for the support of the Tere Moana in this time of need,” said the company.
 
“Star Pride guests are currently en route to Golfito, Costa Rica. From there they will be transferred to San Jose . . . The crew of the Star Pride will join the Star Breeze on December 23.”
 
The ship will be repaired at the port of Balboa. Windstar has canceled the Pride’s next sailing and issued a full refund to the passengers aboard at the time of the incident.
 
The Star Pride, formerly the Seabourne Pride, was purchased and renovated as part of Windstar’s new management plan. The company has historically operated large sailing vessels – the 150-passenger Wind Spirit and Wind Star and the 300-passenger Wind Surf – but under a new owner, the company chose to expand into the conventional small cruise ship market. The firm intends to stay with smaller, yacht-like vessels as its competitors move up in size to ships in the 400-600 passenger range. 
 
By Maritime Executive
 
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Confessions of a Cruise Security Officer

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Category : Cruise

A cruise is a vacation full of fun and frivolity under the sun. But if you step out of line (and we’re not talking the conga line), you’ll have to deal with cruise ship security officers. They’re often a courteous and helpful bunch, but they also have the power to confine you to quarters, lock you up, and, in some circumstances, escort you off the ship to sit in a foreign jail. Cruise ship troublemakers, beware: What you gonna do when cruise ship security comes for you?
 
Vincent McNally knows all about the life of a cruise ship officer. After a 30-year career in the FBI and a stint as an instructor for Iraqi police in Baghdad, McNally decided a work-vacation was in order: He became a security officer for Holland America Line.
 
What made McNally choose a life at sea after leaving the FBI? “My wife and I went on my first cruise,” he remembers. He says he enjoyed it — a lot.  “I said to my wife, ‘I’d like to go and work on this. This looks good and you can travel the world.’ And that’s exactly what we did.“
 
McNally worked as a Holland America cruise ship security officer for five years. “The security officer does everything,” McNally tells Yahoo Travel. “I usually had a staff of seven or eight people, depending on how big the ship is. It could be more for bigger ships.” He says his job involves checking people on board, training, and assisting in port security at ports of call.
 
And, yes, dealing with the occasional problem passenger is part of the job, too. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people are fine,” says McNally. “Everybody gets along and we have a good time.” But the loudmouth drunks and troublemakers are inevitable — and one of the things that make working security on a cruise ship a challenging gig. “It’s not something you can just sit back and have a coffee and do,” he says. “It’s not that easy.” It may not be easy but it sure is interesting. So McNally shared with Yahoo Travel his tidbits, anecdotes, and confessions from his time as a cruise ship security officer. 
 
Cruise security officers aren’t mall cops
 
Okay, not all cruise ship security officers are ex-FBI agents like McNally. “I may be a little unique, because I have a little bit more experience than most security officers,” McNally says as modestly as he possibly can. “I’m not bragging, but it’s just factual.”
 
Still, though, you’d be surprised at the strong law enforcement pedigree you may find among cruise ship security officers. “[At Holland America], there were police detectives working on the ships as security officers,” he says. He’s encountered even more law enforcement vets in the training sessions he’s done for aspiring ship security officers. “[Some] were police officers, mostly detectives and lieutenants and sergeants,” he says. So next time you think you can act up on a cruise ship and only have to deal with untrained fake cops, remember: You may be squaring off against an ex-police lieutenant. Or FBI agent. 
 
Drunks are a problem — of course
 
Thousands of people on vacation. A dozen or so bars. Countless bottles of alcohol. A sometimes decadent, party-themed atmosphere. It’s no surprise that the cruise ship environment is in itself a cocktail of excessive drinking. It’s also no surprise that some people don’t hold their alcohol very well and cause trouble. 
 
“Sometimes people come on the ship and they want to drink as much as they can in five days,” says McNally. “That’s a problem. Then we just gotta get them to their rooms and get them to sleep it off until the next day. Calm them down.”
 
If you got so wasted on a cruise that you needed security called on you, you may have something more to deal with the next day than a hangover — at least you would if McNally was working security. McNally says he’d often sit down with the offender on the day after. “Have a regular conversation listing the parameters of what they can and cannot do,” he says. “I found it’s very helpful to have a contract. I’ll make a contract up in concert with the captain and have them sign it. It says they will no longer have a drink for the rest of the cruise, depending on how severe the problem was.”
 
McNally says that contract was often effective in dealing with those who over-indulged to problematic levels, although some would later ask him to let them out of the no-drinking contract. “Some would come back and say, ‘I’m here on a long trip…’” he says. “I said, ‘No, you have to follow along. The other option is you get drunk again and then we come into a foreign port and you’re in somebody’s jail and you don’t want to go there.’” The threat of ending their vacation in a foreign jail was enough to sober up problem drinkers.
 
Another big problem: prescription drugs
 
You’d be surprised at how big a problem prescription drugs can cause for security personnel on cruise ships — both those who take prescription drugs with alcohol as well as those with mental illnesses who go off their meds. 
 
“Especially if they’re on the manic or depressive side,” says McNally. “They’d start screaming and yelling and then all of a sudden they take a pill while I’m talking to them and they come right back down.”
 
Part of dealing with a problem passenger, he says, is ascertaining what’s fueling the problem — is it alcohol or something else? “You have to be aware there are people who may have a mental illness, maybe even be suicidal,” he says. “I’ve had one [who was suicidal] and I was able to talk him down.“
 
Dealing with problem passengers is like a hostage negotiation
 
“One of the things that I pride myself on is that I never had to fight an individual all those five years,” McNally says. “If they were inebriated or if they were out of control, I was able to negotiate anything.”
 
McNally found that dealing with a drunk is kind of like dealing with a stressed-out criminal who’s taken hostages. So he used some of the techniques he used to employ as an FBI agent on problem cruise ship passengers. “There are two principles: hostage negotiation and acute traumatic stress management,” he says. “That’s basically taking the person who is screaming and yelling and calming them down.” 
 
In one case in particular, he recalls using that technique on a drunk and belligerent passenger. “He was yelling and screaming and walking around,” McNally says. “I intervened and then I just basically calmed the person down. You follow the level of voice up and down; you bring them down to a lower level then you escort them back to the room. It’s a difficult thing to do, but it can be done. I think that the format I developed worked pretty well since I had no fights, no physical altercations.”
 
He did have some close calls, though. When a passenger refused to listen to reason, and the situation threatened to turn physical, McNally would call the ships’s bridge and ask them to send down some additional crew members as backup. Because even drunk people know when they’re outnumbered, that was usually enough to solve the problem.
 
All in all, McNally didn’t get too stressed out over dealing with drunk/high/mentally ill passengers. “They’re usually just having a brief moment of being dumb and we’re trying to help them out,” he says.
 
There is a cruise jail 
 
An age-old question we at Yahoo Travel have been asked repeatedly: Do cruise ships have brigs where they throw people who misbehave or break the law? Cruise lines typically don’t like to publicize such matters, but McNally finally reveals the answer: 
 
“Some [ships] have them and some don’t,” he says. “Basically it’s a padded cell.” Jails, he says, are reserved only for the rarest, most extreme circumstances. “That would be in a severe case where the person has assaulted or gone another level above just yelling and screaming,” he says. 
 
Ship security officers don’t unilaterally make the decision to lock up passengers. “The captain would be the ultimate decision maker and he’d then consult with the duty person and security back at headquarters.” But that’s as far as McNally’s experience with cruise ship jails goes. “I don’t think I ever put anyone in it,” he says. “I just get them to go back to their rooms.” 
 
Beware of ship scammers
 
There’s one group McNally says is an even bigger headache than drunks: those trying to scam cruise ships by having an “accident” they try to parlay into some kind of settlement. “There’s that small percentage [of passengers] that may want to try to scam the ship via fake accidents and indicating that the ship did something wrong to them,” he says. “There are people who come on board specifically to do that for a free cruise. Most of all those I was able to rectify by investigation and proving that what they were saying was unfounded.” (Reminder: Video cameras are everywhere on cruise ships.)
 
A lot of times, these scams are your standard slip and fall but sometimes they get more elaborate. McNally remembers one case when a passenger claimed that somebody in the ship’s crew had dropped a straight pin into his glass of water before serving it. The passenger even took a picture of the pin-infested water and gave it to McNally, who began a CSI-type reconstruction of the crime. 
 
“I replicated exactly where they sat,” says McNally, “where the ice came from, where the water came from. I checked all the ice and water.” McNally concluded that, given where the pin was in the glass in relation to the water and ice, the only one who could have put it in the glass was one of the people sitting at the table where the passenger had been sitting — perhaps the passenger himself, maybe?  “When I told him that, he just said, ‘Oh…’ and walked away,“ says McNally. “They feel like they are dealing with some security guard that has no experience.”
They investigate crimes impartially
 
Crime on cruise ships is a big issue, and many passengers’ rights advocates have accused cruise ship security officers of not taking the issue seriously. Because cruise ship security personnel work for the cruise line, say these critics, in cases where passengers are crime victims, security officers feel pressure from their employers and are more concerned with protecting the company than with helping victims.
 
McNally denies that. “I’ve never felt that way in the five years I worked for Holland America,” he says. “I worked to do everything possible to assist the victim and to secure the evidence.” 
 
McNally adds there were no cover-ups of potentially embarrassing cases during his tenure. “I’ve never seen any type of security case that was not immediately reported back to headquarters and thereafter to the FBI as far as I know,” he says of his investigations. “For me there’s only one way and that’s doing it the right way: getting the evidence and submitting it, or holding on to it until the FBI comes on board at the next port.”
 
There are fringe benefits — of course!
 
When McNally was at sea, he often wasn’t alone. “I was very lucky because as an officer, I could bring my wife with me,” he says. “Usually the evenings I was free, so we could go around the ship. Every night we had a nice dinner, we got to meet people.”
 
Of course, there’s the chief perk of working on a cruise ship in any capacity: seeing the world. Not that McNally got to see all that much of it; he remembers that some of the busiest times of any voyage were when the ship was in port.
 
“You basically don’t have the free time to go visit every place because your job in port is to keep an eye on everything,“ he says. “You liaison with the local police and port authority. Make sure that their security is doing their job and vice-versa, they’re checking on us. We have to be available for customs, for all different agencies to board and check the ship. It’s not like I don’t like to do that. I’d like to have had more free time.”
 
But looking back on his life at sea, McNally has fond memories. So does his wife. “She was upset that I left the job!” he laughs. “She enjoyed every day. It’s certainly interesting. I enjoyed it.”
 
By Sid Lipsey, Yahoo Travel
 
For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
 
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New Orleans Exploring New Cruise Terminal Concept

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Category : Cruise

NEW ORLEANS – The state bond commission has approved the final portion of the financing for the new Poland Avenue cruise ship terminal in New Orleans. If all goes as planned, the Port of New Orleans could begin construction of the new facility, early next year.
 
For now, the $51 million complex is expected to handle one ship at a time. Port Director Gary Lagrange says the terminal building will serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods as well as cruise ship passengers.
 
“We want to receive the input from the neighbors as to what the final product is going to look like, what it consists of and that’s a process we’re in right now,” Lagrange said.
 
Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association President Lisa Suarez has her concerns.
 
“The impact to Marigny is going to be greater intensity as well as problems with traffic and parking,” Suarez said. “Peters and Chartres have been beefed up to handle traffic, but it’s going to be gridlock if the port even makes one mistake.”
 
Bywater resident Phillip Cobb lives on Poland Avenue, about a block away from where the new terminal is expected to be built.
 
“At this point, they’re talking about all the traffic, coming down Poland Avenue from St. Claude and turning at Dauphine into that one gate,” Cobb said.
 
Cobb is pushing the port to build a ramp off of St. Claude Avenue. That would take vehicles through the old navy base, rather than down Poland Avenue to the new facility.
 
“Do a right hand lane, do a flyover and drop them right into the facility on the back side,” Cobb said.
 
“The access, egress, transportation access is something that we’re looking for input from the neighborhood,” Lagrange said. “We’re studying as part of the process a shuttle bus service that will actually be available to shuttle people on the river side of the floodwall, not down Charter Street.”
 
Neighbors say if done wrong, the Poland Avenue Terminal could cause harm to their current quality of life, But, they say if done right, it could be a win-win for the neighborhoods and the Port of New Orleans.
 
The port is planning a series of community meetings about the new cruise ship complex.
 
The project is now expected to be completed in late 2017.
 
By 4WWL Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
 
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Boy Drowns Aboard Royal Caribbean Ship

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Category : Cruise

An eight-year-old boy has drowned in a swimming pool onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise liner, the Liberty of the Seas.  He was given CPR for more than an hour by the cruise ship’s medical team but they were unable to revive him.  Royal Caribbean has released a statement, which reads: ‘We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of an eight-year-old boy who drowned onboard Liberty of the Seas in one of the ship’s swimming pools.
 
‘On Monday afternoon, the boy was spotted and pulled out of the pool by a guest. Our medical team quickly responded and attempted resuscitation for more than 60 minutes, but were sadly unable to revive him. We ask respect for the family’s privacy.  We ask that you join us in keeping the child and his family in your thoughts and prayers.’
 
The boy’s identity and nationality have not yet been released.  Many cruise ships do not have lifeguards stationed at their pools. Signs are always posted that warn passengers to swim at their own risk. 
 
The Liberty of the Seas, which departed from Galveston, Texas on December 20, is currently on a seven-night western Caribbean voyage.  
 
By NICK ENOCH FOR MAILONLINE
 
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Sweden Signs First Deal for Cruise Ship Migrant Housing

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Category : Cruise

The Swedish Migration Board has inked its first deal for cruise ship housing for migrants, on schedule with its previously announced timeline. The Swedish Migration Board told media in November that it is running out of refugee housing on land and is considering both cruise ships and offshore accommodations facilities (flotels) as alternatives.
 
The first vessel, an unnamed cruise ship owned by firm Accumul8or Invest, will be able to accommodate as many as 1,260 refugees.
 
The Board has not yet announced where the ship will be berthed, but accommodations manager Willis Åberg told Swedish media that harbors could include Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Oskarshamn, Uddevalla and Gävle. Following contracts, site surveys and local approvals from harbor authorities, the vessel could be in place and accepting migrants as early as the summer of 2016.
 
“It’s a bit unusual,” Åberg told regional media. “It’s nothing we’re used to.”
 
It is not unprecedented, though: in August a cruise ship was contracted to provide refugee processing space for authorities on the Greek island of Kos, a major migration arrival point, and as recently as the 1980s passenger vessels have been repurposed from leisure travel to troop transport in time of war.
 
As it struggles to find living quarters for thousands of permitted migrants, the board has taken other unusual steps to find shelter capacity, including housing at a luxury ski resort some 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. 
 
Åberg previously told media that a plan for temporary housing on public and private lands faces difficulty due to a shortage of tents. 
 
The refugee problem appears to be easing for Sweden as border restrictions and reductions in residency permits take effect. The nation had an influx of 10,000 migrants per week in October, but the number has recently fallen to about 3,000 per week.
 
By The Maritime Executive
 
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Diageo exits poor payment ‘hall of shame’

Category : Food & Beverage

Diageo has been removed from a slow payment ‘hall of shame’ after improving its payment terms but Premier Foods remains on the Forum of Private Business (FPB) blacklist. 

http://www.beveragedaily.com/


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Hare today, gone tomorrow: Nestlé boots Nesquik healthy bunny claims after UK challenge

Category : Food & Beverage

Nesquik is no longer “a great start to the day” after the UK advertising authority ruled the product too high in sugar to bear health claims. 

http://www.beveragedaily.com/


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The year that was: 10 of our most read beverage stories in 2015

Category : Food & Beverage

From craft creations to sports drinks for soccer stars, here are 10 of the top stories that have captured the attention of BeverageDaily readers over the past 12 months.

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