Thursday, March 23, 2006

CCL's Princess Cruises Also Suffers Fatality

Blackened Star Princess Sails into Mo Bay: At least one passenger has died in a fire aboard Princess Cruises' Star Princess in the Caribbean, parent Carnival Corporation reports. News of a fire aboard ship had spread early Thursday morning, but word of the fatality came during Carnival's corporate earnings conference call. The fire, according to CFO Gerald Cahill, was contained to a single area aboard the ship and eventually extinguished. Cahill made the statement during the conference, reporting the fire had caused "one passenger fatality," two cases of smoke inhalation and nine cases of "minor smoke inhalation." His news came during a detailed report on the publicly traded company's earnings. A Princess statement said the Star Princess, sailing from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, Jamaica was "carrying a total of 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members." Cahill, speaking three hours after the Princess statement, said cause of the fire remained unknown, and that Carnival awaited more information from Princess officers.

Celebrity Moving Quickly in Tragedy ...

Aid Dispatched, Facts Gathered: Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity Cruises president, on Thursday at a Miami press conference, reported on a fatal bus crash involving guests from Celebrity Cruises' Millennium that occurred Wednesday afternoon in a remote area northeast of Arica, Chile. Offering assurances that everything possible is being done for victims, survivors, and families, Hanrahan said, “Here's what we do know at this time.”

From Celebrity:

  • Fourteen guests from Celebrity Cruises' Millennium riding in a bus operated by an independent tour operator not affiliated with Celebrity were involved in an accident about 28 miles northeast of Arica, Chile.
  • According to reports, the guests were returning from Lauca National Park on an independent, private tour they had arranged.
  • The bus apparently swerved to avoid an approaching truck on a rugged mountain highway. The bus ran off the road, plunging 300 feet on a mountainside.
  • Twelve guests on the bus were killed, and two other guests were injured.
  • The Chilean driver of the bus and the tour guide reportedly also are injured.
  • The guests involved in the accident are part of a larger, 64-person B'nai B'rith group. Celebrity Cruises is consulting with a rabbi on how best to support the families.
  • Responders transported the injured to the Arica Juan Noah Hospital for treatment. The two injured guests are in stable condition in an ICU unit.
  • Upon learning of the accident, Millennium's captain dispatched a physician, nurse and concierge to the hospital to assist.
  • Celebrity Cruises also notified the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Coast Guard and Bahamian authorities.
  • Millennium departed Valparaiso, Chile, March 19 on a 14-night sailing scheduled to conclude in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 2.
  • The accident occurred on the fourth day of the cruise and at the first port call. Millennium was carrying1,536 guests and 920 crew members on this particular sailing.
  • Millennium was scheduled to leave Arica Wednesday night for its next port call at Lima, Peru, on Friday. To assist authorities and allow any guests wishing to depart the ship to disembark, Millennium's departure from Arica was delayed until today.
  • The ship is conducting a service onboard for guests to pay their respects to those involved in the accident.
  • Celebrity has opened all phone lines and Internet access to guests onboard Millennium so they can communicate with friends and loved ones to apprise them of their safety.
  • The ship's physician, nurse and concierge dispatched to the hospital will remain in Arica to assist Chilean medical personnel, as well as family members.
  • Celebrity Cruises has established two toll-free telephone lines for family members of guests sailing on Millennium for this cruise. These numbers are for family members only.
  • In transit to Arica: A special-assistance team from Miami led by John Krousouloudis, vice president for marine operations. The rabbi also is with this team.
  • Celebrity is flying family members of those involved, and who choose to go, to Chile.
  • Celebrity Cruises is, at this point, is not providing names of victims, out of respect for their families.
  • Hanrahan pledges Celebrity Cruises will do “whatever we can to help find the answers we all want and need.” Hanrahan also said he and “all other members of our senior-management team -- will remain personally involved in efforts to find those answers.”

Monday, March 20, 2006

At last: Carnival Heads to Greece & Turkey ...

FREEDOM FARE A 'FUN SHIP' FIRST: Starting March, 2007, Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Freedom sails an inaugural schedule encompassing 12-day cruises marking the line's first-ever calls in the Greek Isles and Turkey, plus calls at magnificent Mediterranean ports. Freedom's inaugural season kicks off March 14, 2007, with seven 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises and a dozen 12-day "Grand Mediterranean" voyages through Oct. 16, 2007. All sail round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome). Bob Dickinson, president and CEO, says these new cruises "represent the continuing evolution of the 'Fun Ship' vacation experience. " The 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises include eight ports: Naples; Rhodes; Izmir (Ephesus) and Istanbul, y featuring scenic cruising of the Dardanelles; Athens and Katakolon; and Livorno, and an overnight call for Rome. Departures are March 14 and 26, April 7 and 19, June 18, Aug. 5, and Sept. 22, 2007. Landside experiences include the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, plus ancient cities of Olympia, Priere, Didyma and Miletus. Overnighting in Civitavecchia, guests can book shore excursions to Rome, while during the extended call in Istanbul, they can visit the fabled Blue Mosque and Topkapi Museum. On departure from Istanbul, Carnival Freedom sails the spectacular Sea of Dardanelles, connecting the Aegan with the Sea of Marmora. The "Grand Mediterranean" cruises visit seven ports: Naples; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice (two-day call); Messina; Barcelona; Cannes; and Livorno. The 12 voyages depart May 1, 13 and 25, June 6 and 30, July 12 and 24, Aug. 17 and 28, Sept. 10, Oct. 4 and 16. On these voyages, shore excursion include Capri, Taormina, Monte Carlo, Florence and Pisa, home to celebrated landmarks. Particularly noteworthy is the two-day call in Venice. Freedom signature "Fun Ship" amenities: 22 lounges and bars, spa, jogging track, Internet café, and four swim pools - one with a 214-foot slide. A nine-deck glass-covered atrium provides access to twin bi-level restaurants, a 1,400-seat poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria, and a supper club serving prime steaks. Georges Blanc Signature Selections are created by the French master chef. Freedom also includes a golf program, conference center, duty-free shopping, and "Camp Carnival" and "Club 02" programs for children and teens. Of 1,487 staterooms, 60 percent have ocean views, and 60 percent of those have balconies. Fares for Carnival's new 12-day Med & Greek Isles cruises start at $999 and the 12-day Grand Med voyages start at $1,449, per person double occupancy. Air supplements, with rates for third and fourth guests in staterooms are available. Carnival accepts booking, starting March 27, 2006. For details, call 1-800-CARNIVAL.