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Tag Archives: cruise travel

Ship is fumigated after stomach bug strikes cruise

May 21, 6 p.m. ET — A Norovirus-like outbreak on Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca left a reported 170 of 1,176 people (828 passengers, 348 crew) ill over the course of a 13-night cruise.

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail says the ship was greeted by National Health Service (NHS) staff and ambulance crews Sunday in Greenock, Scotland, where it concluded a Canary Islands and Portugal cruise.


Boudicca underwent an intensive fumigation Sunday before embarking on its next scheduled voyage (a 21-night Adriatic cruise) 90 minutes later than scheduled. The cleaning was overseen by local health authorities, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS.

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In a statement, Fred. Olsen spokeswoman Rachael Jackson told Cruise Critic that no more than 35 people were “in isolation at any one time.”

Still, according to the report by Scotland’s Daily Record, an unnamed female passenger said “passengers were offered £150 discounts on their next cruise.” Cruise Critic has contacted Fred. Olsen by e-mail about any compensation offered to passengers.

In spring 2010, the line cut short a cruise on Boudicca because of a suspected Norovirus outbreak, even though only six passengers remained in isolation at the time of the decision to do so.

Norovirus is the second most common illness next to the common cold and is highly contagious, spreading easily in confined spaces like hospitals, hotels, dormitories and cruise ships. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and millions are infected each year.

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Couple booted from cruise ship after missing drill

An elderly couple was booted from a luxury ship Saturday after the wife refused to participate in the mandatory safety drill that begins every cruise.

Cruise Critic member Seabourntraveller, who’s chronicling a sailing on the 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn, offered an account of the incident, which occurred while the ship was docked in Lisbon, Portugal. “[The passengers] in [cabin] 627 did not respond to numerous requests, phone calls and announcements to proceed to the Restaurant for the muster drill, and, much to their chagrin, they are spending the next 12 days somewhere other than Seabourn Sojourn,” ST wrote.


Seabourntraveller said the captain announced on the ship’s PA that those who refused to participate in the muster drill — during which passengers gather at assigned lifeboat stations and learn what to do in an emergency — would be debarked. “He was not bluffing, and they were re-packed, removed and escorted off the gangway.”

This is the second reported incident since January’s Costa Concordia disaster in which a passenger has been booted off a ship for not participating in the drill. Seabourn sister line Holland America went the same route in February, debarking a passenger for muster drill “non-compliance.”

Mike Driscoll, publisher of the weekly industry newsletter Cruise Week, reported that the husband, 90, attended the drill, but his wife, 84, said she didn’t feel well. “She refused, saying she had done it before,” wrote Driscoll, citing Steve Shulem, the California agent who booked the couples’ cruise.

Driscoll reports that the two were on the second leg of a three-leg (back-to-back-to-back) cruise, but it is unclear if “done it before” refers to the first leg or some other cruise experience.

We’ve reached out to Seabourn via e-mail for comment.

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The muster drill is just one of several cruise ship safety protocols that have been scrutinized in the wake of January’s Costa Concordia tragedy. Some 700 passengers who had boarded in Civitavecchia on January 13 had not yet participated in the drill when Concordia struck a rock; they were scheduled to attend the drill the next morning.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a U.N. agency tasked with improving maritime safety, requires via its Safety of Life at Sea conventions (SOLAS) that passenger ships hold a muster drill within 24 hours of embarkation. In February, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that its 26 members — which include every major line — would hold muster drills before a ship leaves port. At the time of January’s accident, most lines were already holding drills before departing, but there were exceptions. Because Concordia operated on a “triple-homeport” schedule — passengers could board in Barcelona, Civitavecchia or Savona — musters were sometimes scheduled for the next day. This was still acceptable per the 24-hour window dictated by SOLAS, the ship safety regulations adopted following the sinking of the Titanic.

What lines do with muster skippers is up to them. “The only enforceable piece is that the ship completes the passenger muster as required,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Brehm of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise. “What [officers] do to the passengers who don’t show up is a company policy at that point.”

As for Saturday’s forced debarkation, Cruise Critic readers have mostly taken Seabourn’s side. “I agree wholeheartedly that the captain made the right call in disembarking cabin 627’s passengers, who apparently could not be bothered to follow his rules,” wrote markham, echoing a common sentiment. Seabourntraveller was baffled that, in light of what happened on Concordia, any cruiser would flout the muster requirement.

Still, some had sympathy for the debarked duo. “The last image I have of them is this very elderly couple standing on the cruise pier in Lisbon all by themselves with their luggage,” wrote an unnamed passenger in an e-mail to Cruise Critic. “I hope these poor dear people made it home.”

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‘Diet guru’ pulled from cruise over bogus tweets

FBI agents search for biological weapon after “parody” tweet. KPRC’s Amy Davis reports.

A neurosurgeon turned “diet guru” was removed from Carnival Magic on Sunday after a Twitter account bearing his name referenced a bio-terrorist attack. 

 Jack Kruse was scheduled to give a lecture on Jimmy Moore’s 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise, a themed voyage scheduled to embark from Galveston, Texas, on May 6. But before the ship left port for the Western Caribbean, the cruise line was “notified of a Twitter message under the handle of Kruse alleging he intended to cause harm to one of our ships,” Carnival said in a statement. 


“The Galveston police, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard were informed immediately and, shortly thereafter, authorities boarded the vessel to investigate the matter,” the statement said. “Kruse was questioned, and since the investigation was ongoing, he was asked to disembark the vessel just prior to sailing.” 

The source of the tweet — a parody account that mocks Kruse and his controversial teachings — wrote that “security confiscated dynamite. talk won’t be as explosive as one at PaleoFx. still have vial of Legionnaires for epic biohack. #lccruise12.” The account has since been deactivated.

Kruse, who says on his website that he once weighed 350 pounds, is a low-carb advocate who touts “Leptin reset” (leptin is a protein hormone that plays a role in appetite and metabolism) and “cold thermogenesis,” a method that uses ice baths, as part of his diet plan. 

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Kruse told the Tennesseean that he believes his critics are behind the anonymous Twitter account. “It was just a nightmare what happened,” he told the paper.

There is some confusion over the disembarkation. Kruse told Nashville’s News Channel 5 that he was cleared by the FBI and Homeland Security and yet was still denied boarding by Magic’s captain, Giovanni Cutugna. 

Carnival, however, states the investigation “was ongoing at the point the ship needed to depart,” and thus in the “best interest of all guests and crew to err on the side of caution and not allow him to sail.” 

 “Subsequently, the FBI was able to confirm that Dr. Kruse was not responsible for the threatening Twitter message,” said the line. 

On Monday, Carnival offered Kruse the option of flying to the ship’s next port of call at the line’s expense to rejoin the voyage. Kruse, who was scheduled to speak on Monday, declined the offer, which would have delivered him to the ship in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Wednesday. 

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Costa Cruises introduces new ship, safety measures

Reuters

A graphic illustrating the new Costa Fascinosa, which was christened on Saturday.

During a low-key event that was dramatically different from Costa Cruises’ trademark fireworks-laden christening spectaculars, the line named its newest ship Saturday in Venice.

Elsa Gnudi, the daughter of Italy’s minister of tourism, Pier Gnudi, served as godmother of the 114,500-ton, 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, the debut of which marks the first major step forward for a company still coming to terms with its part in the worst cruise ship disaster in a century.


Related: Costa Concordia captain’s blunders detailed in Vanity Fair

During a poignant moment, Fascinosa cruise-director-turned- master-of-ceremonies Stefhane Codeluppi called for a minute of silence to remember the 32 people who perished after Costa Concordia rammed into rocks and capsized off the coast of Tuscany in January. Contrast that to last year’s exuberant naming ceremony of Costa Favolosa, which featured a ballet troupe, an Italian starlet with a novelty sized bottle of Champagne and fireworks choreographed to Italian opera.

Still, despite this year’s tragic back story, Costa executives expressed optimism over the future of the brand. In a press release, Costa’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pier Luigi Foschi, said the company has “bounced back” and that “booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year.”

“Our share of the market in the main countries where we operate has not been affected. We were, are and will remain number one in Europe,” he stated, adding that Costa’s fleet expansion will continue. Its next new ship is scheduled to launch in fall 2014.

More from Cruise Critic:

The line also used the day to introduce a number of new safety initiatives, focusing on passenger training, bridge management and pre-voyage navigation plans — three areas under intense scrutiny in the Concordia investigation.

Among other plans, Costa said it will launch a new real-time route-monitoring system. Concordia’s captain, Franceso Schettino, is accused of taking the ship on a dangerous unauthorized path in order to “salute” the residents of Tuscany’s Isla Giglio. The ex-captain has claimed repeatedly that his superiors told him to take the course to garner publicity for the line.

Costa will also adopt a new bridge management model, and strengthen policies that regulate the bridge. Schettino, who remains under house arrest on charges including manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, was allegedly distracted by bridge guests at the time of the accident.

Related: Leaders in cruise industry renew emphasis on safety

Costa’s own announcements come just over a week after the cruise industry’s largest organization, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), revealed a number of safety-related prescriptions targeting similar areas of concern.

Fascinosa sails from Venice tomorrow on a five-night pre-inaugural cruise visiting ports in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The inaugural cruise, a 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise with calls in Greece, Israel and Turkey, will depart on May 11.

According to a new article in Vanity Fair, the captain of the Costa Concordia made a laundry list of blunders before the cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

More from msnbc.com

Costa Cruises introduces new ship, safety measures

Reuters

A graphic illustrating the new Costa Fascinosa, which was christened on Saturday.

During a low-key event that was dramatically different from Costa Cruises’ trademark fireworks-laden christening spectaculars, the line named its newest ship Saturday in Venice.

Elsa Gnudi, the daughter of Italy’s minister of tourism, Pier Gnudi, served as godmother of the 114,500-ton, 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, the debut of which marks the first major step forward for a company still coming to terms with its part in the worst cruise ship disaster in a century.


Related: Costa Concordia captain’s blunders detailed in Vanity Fair

During a poignant moment, Fascinosa cruise-director-turned- master-of-ceremonies Stefhane Codeluppi called for a minute of silence to remember the 32 people who perished after Costa Concordia rammed into rocks and capsized off the coast of Tuscany in January. Contrast that to last year’s exuberant naming ceremony of Costa Favolosa, which featured a ballet troupe, an Italian starlet with a novelty sized bottle of Champagne and fireworks choreographed to Italian opera.

Still, despite this year’s tragic back story, Costa executives expressed optimism over the future of the brand. In a press release, Costa’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pier Luigi Foschi, said the company has “bounced back” and that “booking volumes are back to the same levels recorded this time last year.”

“Our share of the market in the main countries where we operate has not been affected. We were, are and will remain number one in Europe,” he stated, adding that Costa’s fleet expansion will continue. Its next new ship is scheduled to launch in fall 2014.

More from Cruise Critic:

The line also used the day to introduce a number of new safety initiatives, focusing on passenger training, bridge management and pre-voyage navigation plans — three areas under intense scrutiny in the Concordia investigation.

Among other plans, Costa said it will launch a new real-time route-monitoring system. Concordia’s captain, Franceso Schettino, is accused of taking the ship on a dangerous unauthorized path in order to “salute” the residents of Tuscany’s Isla Giglio. The ex-captain has claimed repeatedly that his superiors told him to take the course to garner publicity for the line.

Costa will also adopt a new bridge management model, and strengthen policies that regulate the bridge. Schettino, who remains under house arrest on charges including manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, was allegedly distracted by bridge guests at the time of the accident.

Related: Leaders in cruise industry renew emphasis on safety

Costa’s own announcements come just over a week after the cruise industry’s largest organization, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), revealed a number of safety-related prescriptions targeting similar areas of concern.

Fascinosa sails from Venice tomorrow on a five-night pre-inaugural cruise visiting ports in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The inaugural cruise, a 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise with calls in Greece, Israel and Turkey, will depart on May 11.

According to a new article in Vanity Fair, the captain of the Costa Concordia made a laundry list of blunders before the cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

More from msnbc.com