Carnival to spend £500 million on fleet review

Carnival Cruise Lines, a British-American owned cruise line based in Florida, USA, is to spend up to £500 million on an operational review of its fleet.

The company intends to review 101 ships across its ten brands following a number of reported technical problems and the widely publicised engine fire on the company’s ship, Carnival Triumph, in February this year. Improvements are already in hand for £200 million of improvements to Carnival Cruise Lines’ 24 ships, with emergency power capabilities, new fire safety technology and operating backup all benefiting from enhancements.

According to Carnival, the work should not affect its scheduled cruise itineraries beyond the cancellations that have already been announced for the damaged Carnival Triumph and delays to the rebuilding of Carnival Sunshine.

Micky Arison, chairman and chief executive of Carnival Corporation, said, ‘The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment.’

Gerry Cahill, president and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, said, ‘All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements. However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations.’


Francis Hotel a hit after £6m renovation

The Francis Hotel Bath has recently received a £6 million refurbishment, the hotel itself is set across 7 former townhouses and boasts ample parking to the rear, while travellers on foot can easily access the hotel from the train station and various coach stops in the city. As you would expect for a Bath hotel the architecture is stunning and the location is central to many attractions such as the world renowned Roman Baths, Royal Crescent and the Thermae Spa.

Our visit to the newly refurbished Francis Hotel was on July 27th the same night as the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. An impressive central location, grand building and a traditional, slightly old world, revolving door greets you.  But once inside the lobby you are greeted with a contemporary interior which delivers both style and history. The hotel markets itself as a city centre boutique residence and there has clearly been some thought put into the décor. The traditional features remain but are decorated in bold deep tones with thick lush fabrics.

The rooms are furnished in keeping with the boutique image, thick patterned carpets, four poster bed and a well finished shower room. The beds are large and comfortable with the only disconcerting part being the picture on the ceiling above the bed, which may be a design step too far.

The hotel does have a Raymond Blanc restaurant for the use of patrons and the public though we did not use it on this trip.  Bath is a city of great culinary diversity so you will have no problem finding a great restaurant, you may however have trouble deciding which one to visit first.

Later in the evening we retreated to the hotel lounge where table service offers you the chance to sample some of the hotels fine wines, cocktails and beers from around the world, we chose a couple of cocktails which were mixed superbly by the barman. We had our last drink of the evening served in our room and enjoyed an hour of the Olympics opening ceremony.

Breakfast is served in the main dining area of the hotel which is light and airy and makes a perfect location to ease into the day. The selection of food is superb and really would cater for any taste, finding it hard to ignore a good English breakfast I ordered just that while my wife being the more health conscious took the continental option and enjoyed some fantastic granola, fresh fruit and some interesting breakfast smoothie shots which in her words were “fabulous”.

To sum up, the Francis Hotel has to be up there with the best city centre hotels in Bath, the location is superb and the rooms, although not the biggest, will offer you a supremely comfortable base from which to explore the city and the many sight the South West has to offer.