Tropical Storm Lee Delays Ships/Disrupts Itineraries- More hurricane season drama occurred this week as TS Lee dumped a ton of rain and wind on southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The ports of New Orleans and Mobile we affected with Carnival and Norwegian having to delay the return of ships and the departure of others. Both cruise lines reimbursed passengers a percentage for any missed cruise days, Norwegian in the form of an on board credit, but presumably passengers were forced to cover their own extra hotel expenses and change fees for air tickets.
Earlier this week, a good friend questioned why we have been promoting travel insurance as a no-brainer when we are so focused on saving money, and often, insurance doesn't make fiscal sense if one can afford to self insure. It got me thinking, and to be honest, I have never insured a vacation that was not a cruise. Maybe I am haphazard, but I figure if a flight is delayed and we get there a little late, I am not eating too huge a cost. With the cost of changing plane tickets, I often feel like if I buy a plane ticket, I am going goshdarnit! But cruises are a bit of a different breed to me. If something weird happens and you miss the boat, well, you miss the boat (maybe that is where that saying came from). I would much rather be out a couple hundred dollars for insurance than a couple thousand for the whole cruise. This hurricane season has really highlighted that for me, and has made me much more likely to bite the bullet and put up my couple hundred. But, I guess if you can afford to self insure and fly to the next destination, should that be needed, more power to you. (And maybe some insurance guy is sitting in his office right now, laughing at my naivete.)
Royal Caribbean Sends Another Ship to China- This week, Royal Caribbean released more details about the 3,138 passenger Voyager of the Seas itineraries in Asia. The 2,076 passenger Legend of the Seas has been operating cruises out of Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong since 2009, and the larger namesake of the Voyager class will join her in May of 2012. Longer cruises to the South Pacific, and Australia will also be offered.
If you have been paying attention to the news at Royal Caribbean lately, there is an obvious movement away from the North American market with a greater emphasis on Europe than ever before, and now this growth in Asia. From financing cruise ports in Europe like Ravenna and in Greece, to their chairman announcing that North Americans won't be their leading demographic anymore it is clear that this is a trend they expect to continue. With less than half of their ships already stationed in North America year round, one is left to wonder how far Royal Caribbean will eventually go in deploying their fleet to the rest of the world. While I am certainly excited about the options that Royal Caribbean is offering all around the world, I hope they do not change their product, making it less appealing to North American cruisers : changing on board currency, language, entertainment etc.
Norwegian Announces New Ship Name Finalists- A few months ago, Norwegian requested that cruisers submit name suggestions for the two newest ships in their fleet, and the preliminary results are in. Perhaps most unimaginative is the Norwegian Breakaway (since the shipbuilding project has been called Project Breakaway). I have personally hated the name "Project Breakaway" since I heard it as it conjures up images of unstable things. For some reason, I also think of those zip off pants/shorts things. Another doozie is the Norwegian Getaway. Really? Bonnie and Clyde get ready because your getaway vehicle is now a slow moving cruise ship. Similar is the Norwegian Escape, which is slightly better because I just think of the SUV. And that leaves my two favorites, keeping in mind that I am picking the best of a so-so lot: Norwegian Journey and Norwegian Bliss. Not too bad, in my opinion, and certainly the two I hope they will land on. Sure, Bliss is a chocolate candy, but how bad is that, really? And Journey is slightly boring and reminds me of the 80's band, but again, decent reference. And, as critical as I am, I really can't think of anything better.
Thanks for reading, as always, and I would love your comments. Do you like some of the names or have better ideas? Are you upset about losing the majority of Royal Caribbean's fleet to the rest of the world? Do you think I am being an idiot about travel insurance? Sound off below, and have a great weekend!
Resources: www.cruiseradio.net , www.royalcaribbeanblog.com