Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How safe is your cruise ship?


By A. Pawlowski,
CNN
March 5, 2010 1:11 p.m. EST

(CNN) -- The terrifying moments on board the Louis Majesty, a cruise
ship hit by 26-foot waves off northeast Spain, may be prompting second
thoughts among travelers considering a vacation at sea.

Two passengers were killed and 14 people were injured when water
violently crashed through the windows of some of the ship's public areas
this week.

The incident brought to mind scenes from "The Poseidon Adventure," a
movie in which a wall of water completely flips a cruise ship.

But could that actually happen away from a Hollywood movie screen? And
how well are cruise ships equipped for extreme weather?

Experts said waves like those that struck the Louis Majesty are
extremely rare and should be of little concern to the average cruise
ship passenger.

"Cruise lines are operating on a weekly basis, they're always at sea and
there's a very, very, very low frequency of these incidents happening,"
said Cmdr. Buddy Reams, the chief of the Coast Guard's Cruise Ship
National Center of Expertise.

"We have a really rigorous safety protocol that we go through for each
of the cruise ships that operate [in the U.S.] and it's primarily
because they're carrying so many passengers."

Several industry insiders weighed in on common questions travelers may
be asking about the safety of cruising after this week's incident.

How likely would it be for a cruise ship to encounter a wave that might
tip it over?

Not very likely. In fact, Richard Burke, professor and chairman of
engineering at the Maritime College of the State University of New York,
said he would be as worried about it as an asteroid hitting the Earth.

"Encountering a storm at sea and having the ship moving around and
possibly getting seasick, those things happen. But we're talking about
waves of extraordinary magnitude that are very, very rare," Burke said.

Giant waves: Tall tales or alarming fact?

The chances of a "Poseidon Adventure" disaster happening on a modern
ship are virtually nonexistent, said Harry Bolton, captain of the
training ship "Golden Bear" at the California Maritime Academy.

The only way that it could happen is if the ship were in extreme weather
and positioned sideways to a 70- to 100-foot wave that would have the
potential of rolling it over, Bolton said.

"I guarantee you're never going to be in those kinds of waves anyway,"
he said. "[Cruise ships] avoid bad weather like the plague. They don't
want the passengers in peril, they don't want to risk any injury or
accidents."

How far can a cruise ship lean over to one side and still recover?
Pretty far, though most passengers will likely never experience the extreme.

Cruise ships can list a lot so they can withstand heavy waves, said
Teijo Niemela, editor and publisher of the "Cruise Business Review,"
which follows cruise ship design.

In extreme cases, a ship can actually list 60 degrees and recover, Burke
said. (An angle of 90 degrees would be the ship lying on its side.)

"If you've ever been on a ship that's listing 20 degrees, you almost
can't walk on the ship. Walking up a 20 degree slope is like mountain
climbing," Burke said.

"So if a ship heels more than that, your real problem is that you're
going to get thrown off your feet and a lot of equipment and furniture
is going to break loose and go flying around. So the possibility of
injury is very high when that happens. But the ship should right itself
without any problem."

The biggest roll Burke has ever experienced during his time at sea was
45 degrees, he said. "I really don't want to go through that again."

Cruise ships seem to be getting bigger and taller. Does that affect
their stability?

It may appear that cruise ships are top heavy visually, but naval
architects design them in such a way that all of the heavy liquids,
machinery and the main engine are positioned very low, Burke said. So
the ship's center of gravity is also low even though it looks like the
structure goes up high.

Modern cruise ships also have very intricate anti-heeling systems,
Bolton said.

"It literally blasts water from one side of the ship to the other side
so that you can take a ship that might be rolling 20 degrees and you
turn on the anti-heeling system and it'll knock that thing right down to
a 5 degree roll. It's incredible," Bolton said.

Niemela, who has sailed on the huge new cruise ship Oasis of the Seas a
couple of times, said it's very difficult to feel any kind of movement
on board.

If there is a tsunami warning, like the one last week around Hawaii, is
a cruise ship in danger?

Not unless the ship is still docked in port. A tsunami would go by
entirely unnoticed on the open sea, Burke said. But if the ship were
still at port, an arriving tsunami would be devastating.

How are passengers notified if there's an emergency at sea?

Before a ship leaves port, the crew holds a fire and boat drill for the
passengers. They sound the signals that would call people to their
lifeboat stations if there is an emergency so everybody gets to hear the
sirens before the ship leaves, Burke said. They're very loud and they're
located throughout the ship.

"It's really important if you take a cruise that you participate in the
drill and you do see where your lifeboat station is and you know how to
get there," Burke said.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/03/05/cruise.ship.safety/

Overnight cruise from Seattle to Vancouver is all about views, fun and food

"Almost 3,800 passengers and crew were aboard the Star Princess, but only a handful were up on the bow in the blush of pre-dawn as the cruise ship glided into Vancouver, B.C."

By Alan Berner
Seattle Times staff photographer

Click HERE to read the complete article in the Seattle Times.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Update on Earthquake Damage in Chile

TRAVEL ADVANCE

Volume XX, Number 41
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TURISMO CHILE ISSUES UPDATE ON EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE. Turismo Chile, the country’s tourism promotion organization, has issued a statement to the tourism industry addressing the effect of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile in the earning morning hours last Saturday. According to the report, the cities closest to the epicenter of the quake–including Concepcion, Talcahuano and Temuco, and a number of small towns along Chile’s central coast–were most affected by the quake. Authorities are still working on assessing the full damage. Basic essential services including water, electricity and telecommunications are gradually being restored.

The southern parts of the Lakes and Volcanoes region was not affected by the quake. Operations in popular tourist towns including Pucon, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt are reported to be normal. In Santiago and Chile’s Central Region, the Santiago airport suffered structural damage to the passenger terminal, however no damage was reported to the runways and the airport is expected to reopen later this week. The desert region in the north of Chile and the Patagonia region in the far south were not affected by the quake and have not reported any damage. Easter Island, which lies 2,300 miles off the coast of mainland Chile, a 5.5-hour flight from Santiago, was not affected by the quake. Initial tsunami warnings have been lifted and all operations are normal.

Chile’s tourism infrastructure has, overall, fared well, reporting little damage, officials said. "We look forward to continuing to welcome travelers and making every effort to making them feel safe and secure,” said Pablo Moll, executive director of Turismo Chile. (www.TravelAgentCentral.com, 3/1; wwwTravelPulse.com; www.TravelWeekly.com, 3/1)

*LAN Airlines is set to resume restricted domestic and international flight operations at the Santiago airport today. The airline said it is helping to set up a temporary tent facility at the Santiago terminal for passengers. Through Thursday of this week, LAN said the priority will be the transfer to and from Santiago of those passengers who have been affected by flight cancellations. Starting on Friday of this week, operations are expected to begin getting back to normal. LAN is waiving change fees until March 30 for passengers who have been unable to fly due to the earthquake. (www.TravelPulse.com)

–Princess Cruises’ Star Princess, set to sail from the port of Valparaiso in Chile on Wednesday, one day later than scheduled, will act as a floating hotel for stranded passengers if the nearby Santiago airport does not fully reopen today. Originally, the Star Princess was due to sail from Valparaiso today, but the line now says the earliest the ship will depart is 6 p.m. Wednesday. Although Santiago is about 90 minutes from the port, it is a major attraction for passengers who visit, and it provides the nearest air-travel hub for cruise passengers. Two other cruise lines are scheduled to have ships in the area within the next two weeks. Oceania Cruises’ Insignia is due to call on Sunday, and Silversea’s Silver Spirit is slated to arrive on Monday. At the moment, representatives of both lines say they do not anticipate any changes to itineraries. (www.CruiseCritic.com, 3/1; www.TravelWeekly.com, 3/1)

Earthquake in Chile - INSIGNIA

Update from Oceania Cruises, March 2
Insignia is currently sailing in South America and is en route to
Valparaiso, Chile, where the cruise is scheduled to arrive on Sunday, March 7th.
We have been in close communication with management onboard Insignia and our ground operations
team in Chile. Additionally, a team of Miami-based executives is enroute to
the region to provide a firsthand assessment of the situation in Santiago and Valparaiso.

Based on the preliminary information we have obtained, we do not anticipate
any itinerary changes to affect our arrival in Valparaiso on March 7th.
The Santiago International Airport has been closed to all but military
operations since the earthquake.

In a meeting of the Chilean Civil Aviation Authority (DJAC) on March 1, the authorities announced a twophase restoration of airline service.  During Phase One (March 3 - 5), domestic flights will arrive and depart from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM through temporary facilities at the airport.

International flights will arrive and depart from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. All international arrivals during
Phase One will transit another Chilean airport to clear immigration and customs before arriving in
Santiago. According to the DJAC plan, Phase Two will begin March 6 when the airport will return to round the clock operations, still operating through temporary facilities at the airport, but without the need
for international arrivals to transit another Chilean airport before departing the country. U.S. citizens
are advised to work directly with their airlines to arrange for their departure.

As soon as our management team arrives and provides us further information,
along with information from our ground operations staff, we will issue additional updates and share
details of Insignia's anticipated arrival along with embarkation and debarkation arrangements for
our valued guests.

Ground Transportation in Chile

The Cruise Holidays International Concierge Desk has many contacts in Chile. Our sources have advised that the area around Santiago is experiencing fuel shortages, thus affecting the availability and price of taxis. Travelers may find themselves in Santiago at the airport or Valparaiso at the pier without ground transportation.


We advise our clients to book their transfers with the cruise line. In this way, the cruise lines will have some responsibility in getting the clients to or from the ship. If transfers are not available through the cruise line, contact the Cruise Holidays International Concierge Desk for help in securing ground transportation. The desk can be reached by sending an email to travel@attheta.com.


Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Chile at this time. We at Cruise Holiday will monitor the situation and relay important information as needed.