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Cruise Line Charged $40m for Illegal Dumping



Princess Cruises’ announced today that they had “reached a plea agreement with the Department of Justice” regarding illegal bilge-water dumping incidents that date back to 2013. The cruise line faces the largest ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution, according to the DOJ.

As for the settlement, Princess will pay over $40 million in fines while parent company Carnival has agreed to have their ships from across all of their various brands take part in a mandatory Environmental Compliance program.

What Went Wrong?

In a video statement , Jan Swartz — president of Princess Cruises — said that in late 2013, the company was alerted “that some of our employees on board one of our ships had intentionally violated both our policies and environmental law when they bypassed our bilge-water treatment system and discharged untreated bilge water directly into the ocean.”

Unfortunately, an internal investigation revealed that similar practices were occurring on other ships. “Although we had policies and procedures in place,” a written statement elaborated, “it became apparent they were not fully effective.” Worse, while the situation was brought to the company’s attention in 2013, the investigation revealed that violations had been occurring as far back as 2005.

According to the DOJ, the investigation was initiated “after information was provided to the U.S. Coast Guard… indicating that a newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called ‘magic pipe’ had been used on August 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England. The whistleblowing engineer quit his position when the ship reached Southampton, England. The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie.”

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Assistant Attorney General Cruden said that the pollution “was the result of more than just bad actors on one ship,” and that “it reflects very poorly on Princess’ culture and management. This is a company that knew better and should have done better. Hopefully, the outcome of this case has the potential not just to chart a new course for this company, but for other companies as well.”

Why Did It Happen?

According to a FAQ released by Princess, they “believe these actions were taken to save time and that those involved thought they were saving the company money, but since they violated our policies and the law it was not savings we incentivized, directed nor approved.”

What’s Being Done?

Senior officers involved in the incidents have, according to Princess, been fired. And since the initial discovery in 2013, Princess says that it has been working to deal with the situation. “Over the past three years,” the written statement continues, “we have implemented a number of corrective measures to improve our oversight and accountability.” These have included bringing in new leadership, investing millions in upgraded equipment and focusing on training across the board.

If the court accepts the plea, Princess will pay $40 million in fines, $10 of which will go to community service projects to benefit the maritime environment, with $3 million of the community service payments going to environmental projects in South Florida and another million earmarked for projects to benefit the marine environment in United Kingdom waters. Princess will plead guilty to seven felony charges.

Princess’ Message To You

“Princess cares deeply about the oceans and marine environment,” the FAQ concludes, “and we are very sorry for this violation of environmental law. We want our guests to know that we are using this experience to future improve how we operate to protect and preserve the oceans. With the steps we have and will continue to take to improve our compliance, we commit to sending a high standard for environmental excellence and responsibility.”

photo: Princess

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Cruise Line Cuts Ship In Half [PHOTOS]



Well, here’s something you don’t see every day: A cruise ship being sawed in half like a magician’s assistant. Why? So that a new 49-foot segment can be inserted.

What Does It Take To Cut A Ship In Half?

Silversea Cruises

Photo via Silversea Cruises.

This week in Palermo, Italy, the folks at the Fincantieri Shipyard have been executing the kind of thing you sort of have to see to believe: Thanks to the marvels of modern engineering, they are cutting Silversea’s Silver Spirit right down the middle, separating the two halves and then inserting a pre-built block into the ship before welding the whole thing together in so seamless a fashion that none will be the wiser.

Photo via Silversea Cruises.

So what does it take to accomplish such a feat? Well, breaking it down by the numbers, here’s what you get:

  • Over 500 workers
  • 450,000 man hours
  • 846 tons of steel
  • 360,892 feet of cabling
  • 26,247 feet of piping

And why would one undertake such a monumental task? Believe it or not, it’s actually cheaper than buying an entirely new ship… and will result in the Silver Spirit being able to increase their capacity by 12 percent. At the same time, she’ll undergo a massive refurbishment that will in essence transform her into an entirely new vessel.

How The Ship Will Be Refurbished

Photo via Silversea Cruises.

The entire project was inspired by the line’s flagship, Silver Muse (which not coincidentally was built at the same shipyard) and is serving as the focal influence of a fleet-wide renovation. “The lengthening and refurbishment of Silver Spirit will replicate the modern elegance of our latest vessel to make for a more luxurious travelling experience,” said Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer for Silversea. “This ambitious project will amplify the onboard features that matter most to our guests.”

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Photo via Silversea Cruises.

That includes dining options, which will see several dining options introduced, resulting in an 8-restaurant configuration. Up on the sky deck, the pool area will also be expanded from 98 feet to 148 feet to not only offer more space for sunworshippers, but also add a new aerobics area. The renovation will also see two new public spaces added, The Arts Cafe and Dolce Vita. Finally, all of the suites will be refurbished and upgraded.

And how cool is this? Just before arriving in Palermo to undergo her surgical procedure, the Silver Spirit stopped in Chaina, Crete, so that furniture that was being replaced could be donated to some of the charities on the island.

The ship will return to service on May 6, 2018, with 7-day sailings between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona. For more on the ship and her itineraries, click here.

“Witnessing these breathtaking phases of the Silver Spirit lengthening project has filled us with pride and excitement,” said Muckermann. And now you, too, can be wowed by the scope of the project by watching the video below.


Featured Photo via Silversea Cruises.

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Cruise Trends: What’s Topping Travel Wish Lists



When it comes to trends in cruising, Alaska is hot… and so is living the suite life. That’s according to newly released data based from the Travel Trends Survey. What else did the survey reveal about the places cruisers want to go — and what they want to do when they get there? Read on to find out.

Alaska Claims The Top Spot

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While in the past, land-based vacations to places like Las Vegas and Orlando claimed the top domestic spot, the survey of over 1,300 travel agents (conducted by Travel Leaders Group) showed that Alaskan cruises are the current hot ticket. In looking at international travel, cruises to the Caribbean came in at the No. 1 spot, while there was also a sharp rise in the level of interest travelers expressed toward river cruises. The results certainly indicate that the cruise industry’s efforts to convince the public that cruising is a better value than land-based vacations seem to be paying off in spades. “Cruises are continuing to soar as a popular vacation choice for North Americans,” said Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Planning An Alaskan Cruise

The survey also revealed that interest in cruises to Cuba has increased about 10 percent over last year, which is certainly reflected in how the various lines are approaching the port. While there was some concern that recent changes in the political arena might have a negative impact on the cruise industry where Cuba was concerned, execs at the recent Seatrade Global Cruise Convention said the opposite is proving true. Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said that his line would be doubling their capacity to the region in 2018, adding, “Cuba has been great for the industry.”

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Cruisers Like The Suite Life


Photo via Carnival.

The survey also indicated that when it comes to suites, more and more passengers are booking the higher-end staterooms. In fact, 30 percent of the travel agents responding to the survey indicated that they had seen an uptick in suite bookings. Meanwhile, when asked what type of question cruisers ask most often, the respondents said shore excursion-related queries topped the list, which again is very much in keeping with what executives have indicated is happening industry-wide. During quarterly earnings calls, numerous executives from the cruise lines have indicated that when they look at onboard spending, passengers are increasingly spending their money to purchase experiences as opposed to material things.

While 72 percent of the travel agents surveyed indicated put shore excursions as the No. 1 question, other topics they were frequently grilled on by clients included shipboard activities, pre- and post-cruise travel arrangements and specialty restaurants.

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More Details Revealed on Holland America’s Upcoming Ship



Holland America Line’s newest upcoming ship Nieuw Statendam is set to debut this coming December. When the ship sets sail from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, it will feature several stateroom enhancements.

The newest 2,666-guest Pinnacle-class ship will have eight more cabins than sister ship Koningsdam, and all categories have been reimagined from top to bottom with more thoughtful touches and additions.

Among the most noticeable is the redesigned Pinnacle Suite – the largest on the ship – as well as reconfigured Family Staterooms. That being said, Nieuw Statendam will still display all stateroom hallmarks that were introduced on Koningsdam, including single-cruiser cabins as well as a wide range of suite configurations.


Nieuw Statendam adds five more oceanview and three more interior rooms, bringing the total stateroom count to 1,339. The vessel has 103 oceanview and 280 interior cabins, ranging from 225 to 266 square feet. The ship will also have 851 verandah or verandah spa accommodations, bringing the total cabins that have a verandah, including suites, to 912.

The 32 family oceanview staterooms range from 222 to 231 square feet, and have been reconfigured to offer more living space. Accommodating up to five guests, family staterooms offer special amenities including two bathrooms and extra closet space. The 12 single oceanview cabins for solo cruisers range from 127 to 172 square feet, and are located on the forward main deck.


On Nieuw Statendam, suites are larger and more luxurious than ever on Holland America. A grand Pinnacle Suite is a massive 1,290 square feet with a bedroom, living room, dining area, dressing room, and verandah with whirlpool. The Pinnacle Suite was reconfigured to offer an open-concept design, and guests are greeted by a spacious grand entrance, refreshed color scheme, and luxe touches like custom furniture and a double-sided television.

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43 Nepture Suites and 2 Neptune Spa Suites range from 465 to 855 square feet. Guests in these accommodations, as well as the Pinnacle Suite, have access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests, and have access to a concierge. This ship’s lounge was enlarged to allow for additional seating and more windows, giving a feeling of openness. The fleetwide lounges provide worktables, a large screen television, a library, sofas and chairs, and complimentary refreshments throughout the day.

The 14 Signature Suites are up to 400 square feet, and the 104 Vista Suites range from 260 to 356 square feet. Signature and Vista suite guests receive a number of special amenities, including oversized bath towels, fresh flowers, a pillow menu, mini bar, and one-touch phone concierge service.

Those looking for a relaxing spa-centric cruise can book a Spa Suite or Verandah Spa, Outside Spa, or Inside Spa stateroom, located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. These cabins come with yoga mats for use during the voyage and an iPod docking station.

Other Details

With sophisticated décor and amenities, suites and staterooms aboard Nieuw Statendam feature a host of modern details, such as bedside USB ports, customized wood cabinets, and frameless glass shower doors.

Additional amenities found in every cabin include Holland America’s signature Mariner’s Dream bed with cotton linens, plush bathrobes for use during the cruise, a premium massage showered, flat-screen TV’s with video on demand, a mini fridge, free fresh fruit on request, and soaps, lotions, and shampoo from Elemis Aromapure.

Due for delivery on December 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will feature familiar elements as well as state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a new course forward for Holland America.

For more information, visit

Photos: Holland America Line

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