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The $25 Million Cruise Ship Charter

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In the wake of the devastating hurricanes which pounded the Eastern Carribean islands earlier this year, thousands of residents were left in various stages of distress. The race was on to restore power as quickly as possible and to help the impacted citizenry — many of whom had their businesses and homes destroyed — regain some sense of normalcy. With that goal in mind, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (also known as FEMA) sent in a virtual army of relief workers, all of whom needed somewhere to stay.

Of course, one of the first problems which had to be dealt with was housing. Where do you put workers when one of the reasons they were needed in the first place was to help people who’ve been rendered homeless by the storms? Before long, FEMA had chartered several cruise ships — including the Carnival Fascination — to serve as temporary housing for the workers.

How Much Did The FEMA Charter Cost?

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But at what cost? That, of course, became a popular question, if for no other reason than curiosity. How much would it cost, people naturally wondered, to charter a cruise ship for an extended period of time? Well, thanks to leading industry website  Cruise Industry News, we now know how much at least one of those chartered ships cost.

By filing a Freedom of Information act, the site learned that the government agency charted the 1,500 passenger Grand Celebration, owned by the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, at a cost of $25,700,000 for 90 days. (That works out to around $286,000 per day. According to Cruise Industry News, “a similarly zied ship from a major contemporary cruise company should be able to generate between $25 and $26 million in gross revenue” for a similar period. Translation: While we’re used to reading about how much government agencies overpay for things, FEMA seems to have gotten a pretty fair deal here.

About The Chartered Ship

If the Grand Celebration looks familiar, that’s because the ship was originally built for Carnival, where it sailed from 1987-2008 as the Celebration. Currently, the ship sails two-day voyages to the Bahamas out of Palm Beach. The Grand Celebration returned to its regular run in late December. Ironically, even as we were working on this story, it was reported that high winds in the Bahamas had caused the ship to break free of its moorings temporarily.

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Cruise News

June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas

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With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit bahamasparadisecruiseline.com.

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Cruise News

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship

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The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders have officially wrapped up their 2018 annual photo shoot, and this year a Miami-based cruise ship was the backdrop.

Over 20 of the cheerleaders sailed to the sunny Caribbean this month aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside, donning a number of clothing styles for the photos while capturing the ship’s iconic design. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Annual is set to be released at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Fashion Show this fall.

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The cheerleaders also took part in photo shoot in ports along the way, including St. Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. During the voyage, the cheerleaders engaged with guests throughout the cruise during a variety of activities, including at the sail away party, hosting youth cheer clinics, posing for photo ops, and doing special performances to entertain guests. To kick off the cruise, they provided a warm Miami Dolphins welcome by taking over the terminal with mascot “TD” to cheer guests into their vacation.

The annual photoshoot onboard MSC Seaside came on the heels of the Dolphins’ first ever Fan Cruise onboard the same ship in March. The voyage included football legend guests of honor including Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain, for a week of themed activities. The team will be hosting their second cruise in 2019.

The Miami Dolphins and MSC Cruises are in the midst of a three-year partnership, which resulted in the Fan Cruise. It will be hosted annually over the next three years.

Photos: Miami Dolphins

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port

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Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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