Cruise ships going out of the way to attract customers

Many cruise companies in the US are going out of the way to attract new customers in a bid to maintain interest.

Several cruise companies have announced major overhauls to existing ships, and are also building on new innovations to add to ships such as theme-style rides and engineering upgrades. There is also much talk about the new ship the Royal Princess, a new ship from Princess Cruises debuting in Southampton, England.

The Royal Caribbean International cruise line is also underway with a new ship, Quantum of the Seas. It is expected to offer a number of innovative features that are claimed to be the first for the cruise industry. One of the attractions of the ship would be the North Star, an observation capsule on a movable arm that will offer a bird’s eye view from 300 feet above the water.

The cruise industry is recovering from events in the early part of the year that have had a negative effect on businesses, such as the engine fire on the Triumph and incidents on other Carnival ships, which led to anger amongst customers.

Even though it is now harder than ever to attract consumers who have never cruised before, the industry is positive and is expecting an increase in business. Royal Caribbean in April unveiled attractions on its Quantum of the Seas ship. Now, at sea, customers would be able to enjoy simulated skydiving, bumper cars and other novel experiences.

Disney Cruise Line last month announced a makeover for its oldest ship, Disney Magic. It will feature a new children’s area themed on Marvel Comics superheroes, a three-story water slide, updated technology and lighting, and re-themed restaurants and entertainment areas.

Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line launched Norwegian Breakaway, which is claimed as ‘the best ship in the company’s 47-year history, according to just about every veteran in this industry.’ The ship’s hull bears a colourful mural designed by pop artist Peter Max. The ship offers fitness classes, an intimate blues club, a ropes course on the top deck, restaurants by Food Network celebrity Geoffrey Zakarian, and baked goods from ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Vlasto.


The curse of two ships: siblings on the stricken liners

THE mother of a Costa Concordia ‘hero’ is suffering the same “nightmare” as she waits for her daughter  to return – who was stranded on the stricken sister ship.

At the beginning of the week a worried Jayne Thomas said she had to learn about the second disaster via an email from a friend.

Frantic Jayne has heard nothing from dancer daughter Becky, 23, since a blaze broke out on the Costa Allegra, leaving it adrift in the Indian Ocean.

Incredibly, her 19-year-old son James had been working on the doomed Concordia, which capsized off the Italian coast in January, killing 32.

The teenager was labelled a hero after helping rescue terrified passengers escape by acting as a human ladder.

Jayne, 48, from Sutton Coldfied,  Birmingham, said: “I only found out when one of Rebecca’s friends sent me an email having heard the news.

“We’ve had nothing from either Costa or the agency that Becky and James worked for.

“I’m not really expecting anything to be honest, we heard nothing when the Concordia went down.”

James and Becky both work for the same agency as dancers aboard Costa’s ships.

But Jayne never dreamed she’s be suffering the same worry again as when the Concordia sank in January.

“I never dreamed it could happen again,” she added. “I’ve been on both of those ships to see my children.

“In the email I got it told me the ship was on fire and that it had been extinguished in a couple of paragraphs so it was bittersweet news.

“There was a moment of agony when I read it though, fire is what I fear most, it’s the worst thing that can happen on a ship.

“Apparently it’s the engine that has caught fire but it’s all speculation at the moment, nobody really knows.

“I just hope they’re telling the truth this time. Originally when the Concordia went down, they told us that there was an electrical failure and everything was going to be fine

“They said it right up until they abandoned the ship.

“I just can’t believe it’s happening all over again it’s like a nightmare.“

The fire broke out when the Allegra was 260 miles from the Seychelles coast. There are said to be no casualties among the 1,049 passengers and crew members.

Costa Cruises said in a statement that the fire broke out in the electric generators’ room and was quickly extinguished.

According to Jayne the vessel has since been taken under tow to a nearby island by a French fishing ship that responded to the Allegra’s mayday call.

Jayne had been in contact with Becky three or four times a day. They last had a conversation on mobile messenger service WhatsApp, yesterday morning. The mum said: “I said, `Good morning, how was your sleep?’ She said she was fine and getting on with the day.“

Fellow dancer James had previously told how he had acted as a ‘human climbing frame’ after the Concordia disaster.

According to mum Jayne the two had always wanted to dance.

“They have always danced and it was what they both always wanted to do,” she added.

“They both did diplomas at Leicester College of Arts, graduated within six months of each other and got jobs last year.

“I don’t think there’s any chance this will put Becky off, she’s always wanted to travel as well as dance.

“She said to me ‘I could go backpacking, but why bother when I can do it in more luxury?’

“I think this might be the end for James though, he had a big ordeal and has already turned down one offer of a job on a Norwegian cruise ship.”

After going through the same ordeal twice Jayne admits she will feel. Differently about cruise ships.

“I never, ever imagined this could happen,” she said. “The allegra was supposed to be completely safe, or that’s what they said.

“It’s smaller, so easier to keep safe. But I have to say, I will feel a bit uneasy if I go on a ship again.

“I’m not going to stop going, you don’t stop flying just because a plane has crashed, but it will certainly feel different.”