Cruise industry suffers another cancellation

The cruise industry has suffered yet another cancelled tour due to technical difficulties.

Following problems reported earlier this week with a fire aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas that has resulted in that vessel being out of action for six weeks of the season, Voyages of Discovery, a cruise line based in West Sussex, UK, has announced the cancellation of a cruise scheduled to begin this Sunday due to a power failure. The cancelled cruise is a 10-day Heritage of the British Isles tour that was due to depart from Portsmouth.

The ship was partway through a 9-day cruise when it suffered generator problems on Tuesday this week. It was subsequently laid up in Killybegs, County Donegal, Northern Ireland, while attempts were made to repair two failed generators that had left only two generators operational. The vessel was carrying 487 passengers at the time, and travel arrangements are in hand to return them to Portsmouth from Killybegs.

Passengers that were expecting to board the June 2 cruise are being contacted to advise them of the cancellation, and will be offered either a full refund or a credit towards a future cruise on the same ship, worth up to 140 percent of their original cruise price.

In a statement the company said, ‘Specialist engineers are working hard to repair the affected generators. MV Voyager will remain in Killybegs while these repairs continue. Voyages of Discovery has apologised to all passengers for these unusual and unforeseen circumstances which have arisen as a result of events beyond their control.’


Blaze cancels more Royal Caribbean cruises

Royal Caribbean International, a Norwegian-American owned cruise company with its headquarters in Miami, USA, has announced further cruise cancellations following a fire aboard one of its vessels earlier this week.

Repairs to the fire damage sustained by the company’s ship, Grandeur of the Seas, will take several weeks to carry out, forcing the company to cancel a further six summer cruises. July 12 is now the date when the vessel is expected to resume its programme of 7-day cruises from the US port of Baltimore.

Thousands of passengers will be asked to reschedule their cruise aboard the 2,446 capacity ship while the repairs are carried out to an ‘industrial area’ in its aft that was affected by the fire. They are to be offered a full refund for the cancelled cruise and 25 percent off the price of a future cruise as compensation.

Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement, ‘The company has taken the vessel out of service and expects that it will take approximately six weeks to complete the repair efforts.’

When the fire broke out the ship was forced to alter its course in the Bahamas and disembark passengers. The company then had to provide 11 flights to get the passengers home, with some travelling by ferry to Florida where they met train and coach connections. Organising the mass repatriation will have further compounded Royal Caribbean’s losses from the cancellations to its schedules at its busiest time of the year.

Jason Liberty, the company’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, confirmed, ‘The extent of the financial impact was relatively high because the affected sailings were during the premium summer season.’


Cruise ship fire the latest setback for industry

In the latest of a series of mishaps that have been blighting the cruise industry, Norwegian-American-owned cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, has suffered a fire aboard one of its ships.

The company, based in Miami, reported that the fire broke out aboard its vessel, Grandeur of the Seas, in the early hours of Monday morning. The blaze took about two hours to extinguish, causing damage to the recently refurbished ship. 2,224 passengers and 796 crew were on board at the time, and all were safely accounted for, although the vessel was forced to alter its intended course from Baltimore in the USA to Coco Cay in the Bahamas and take an emergency detour to the Bahaman town of Freeport.

No serious injuries were reported during the incident, although medical staff reportedly tended to cases of fainting, high blood pressure and one sprained ankle. Passengers reported having to sleep on deck while smoke continued to emanate from near the ship’s stern.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said, ‘In an abundance of caution, the captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests to their assembly stations during the incident.’

Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive officer, Adam Goldstein, immediately flew to Freeport with a guest care team to assess the damage.

The company added, ‘The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we will continue to focus on their immediate needs and concerns. Throughout, the ship’s power, propulsion and communications systems functioned uninterrupted.’

Following the cancellation of their cruise, passengers are being flown back to Baltimore today. Next Friday’s scheduled sailing has also been cancelled and passengers booked on that cruise will receive a full refund and 50 percent off a future cruise.


Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas set to ‘boggle guests’ minds’

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, a Norwegian-American cruise company based in Miami, USA, has announced details of its new ship, Quantum of the Seas, which the company’s chairman and CEO says will ‘boggle our guests’ minds.’

Two experience-oriented features of the new ship are claimed to be firsts for the cruise industry. These are a skydiving simulator, the RipCord by iFly, which will allow the ship’s passengers to sample the effects of skydiving in a safe and controlled environment, and North Star, a glass cabin that is similar to the cars on the London eye, which will extend on a gantry for over 300 feet, across and above the waves below to give passengers inside it a 360 degree panoramic view.

In addition, the 4,180 passengers that the ship can accommodate will have the use of an indoor sports and entertainment complex complete with a roller skating rink, a bumper car arena, a circus school with a flying trapeze, a full-size basketball court and a dance floor. Parents will be able to escape to an adults-only Solarium, while their children are entertained at the H20 Zone children’s aqua park, or in the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for the very young.

Cabin accommodation comes in a range of imaginative formats, including three connected cabins for travelling families, studio cabins for solo guests, and larger internal cabins fitted with ‘virtual balconies’ that screen the exterior seascapes and destinations in real time.

Passengers can book 7- and 14-night Caribbean cruises on Quantum of the Seas from June 4 this year, with the first passenger sailings scheduled for the autumn of 2014. Cruises will be based from the ship’s homeport, Cape Liberty, New Jersey.


Royal Caribbean orders mega cruise liner

Royal Caribbean International, a subsidiary of Norwegian-American global cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE:RCL, OSE:RCL), has ordered a third Oasis-class ship that is to be built in France.

The new vessel is to be built at STX France’s St. Nazaire shipyard and be delivered by mid-2016, and the company has an option for a fourth vessel with a 2018 delivery.

The Oasis-class vessels are 225,282 tons, have 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms to accommodate 5,400 passengers. Like its two sister ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the new ship is expected to have twelve or more restaurants, four swimming pools, tree-lined promenades and a wide range of leisure activities to suit all age groups.

The chairman of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain, said, ‘The Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have fundamentally transformed the cruise experience for our guests. These ships have consistently generated outstanding guest satisfaction ratings and continue to produce superior financial results. We are thrilled to be adding a sister to this extraordinary class of vessels at a compelling price. Being back building in France just adds to the pleasure.’

The company’s president and chief executive, Adam Goldstein, commented, ‘As the cruise line that revolutionised the industry with the FlowRider surf simulator, ice-skating rinks, cantilevered whirlpools and rock climbing walls, we are eager to add this third award winning Oasis-class ship to our brand portfolio. This addition will allow us to showcase our legacy of innovation and imagination to even more guests around the world.’

Royal Caribbean’s existing vessels sail from Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on a weekly basis.