October 18, 2019

Anne Vipond

About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.

CLIA Releases 2019 Environmental Practices Report

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam is equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) technology.


The cruise industry has made year-over-year progress in implementing sustainable technologies and practices according to the third annual Global Cruise Industry Environmental Technologies and Practices Report released this week and compiled by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

“While cruise ships comprise far less than 1% of the global maritime community, cruise lines are at the forefront in developing responsible tourism practices and innovative technologies. Our industry leads in environmental stewardship,” said Michael Thamm, Chairman of CLIA Europe and Group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, who shared the results at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg. “The entire shipping industry benefits from early adoption of innovative technologies by cruise lines—many of which did not exist five to 10 years ago such as exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS), LNG as fuel for passenger ships and shore-side power capabilities,” he added.

CLIA Cruise Lines have invested more than $22 billion in ships with new, energy-efficient technologies and cleaner fuels, and as noted in the report achieved substantial progress in these areas:

LNG Fuel* – The 2019 report found 44% of new build capacity will rely on LNG fuel for primary propulsion, a 60% increase in overall capacity compared to last year.

Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS)* — More than 68% of global capacity utilizes EGCS to meet or exceed air emissions requirements representing an increase in capacity of 17% compared to last year. Additionally, 75% of non-LNG new builds will have EGCS installed, an increase in capacity of 8% compared to last year.

Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems – 100% of new ships on order are specified to have advanced wastewater treatment systems (an increase of 26% over 2018) and currently 68% of the CLIA Cruise Lines global fleet capacity is served by advanced wastewater treatment systems (an increase of 13% over 2018).

Shore-side Power Capability – In port, cruise ships are increasingly equipped with the technology to allow delivery of shoreside electricity, thus allowing engines to be switched off, and there are many collaborations with ports and governments to increase the availability.

Fleet Age – The CLIA fleet is getting younger: The average age of the CLIA cruise lines fleet is 14.1 years compared to 14.6 the prior year.

“CLIA Cruise Lines are committed to responsible tourism practices with standards of environmental stewardship often exceeding those required by law,” said Adam Goldstein, Chairman of CLIA Global and Vice Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “While we are encouraged by and proud of the progress we’ve made, we know there is still work to be done. The cruise industry is a pioneer in maritime environmental protection and has made a fleet-wide commitment to reduce the rate of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008.”

Carnival Resumes calls to the Bahamas after Dorian

Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.


Carnival Cruise Line continues to work with its partners to deliver relief to the people of Grand Bahama and Abaco islands recovering from Hurricane Dorian, it also plans 41 calls to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays for the remainder of September.

Bahamian officials have expressed great appreciation for the support Carnival and its employees and guests have provided but also stressed that the other parts of The Bahamas are open for business and stand ready to welcome guests. Hurricane Dorian, a Catagory 5 storm, strengthened quickly in late August becoming the most powerful hurricane to hit the Bahamas since records began. At least 50 people died in the islands in its wake.

“Thank you to all who have joined us to support our friends in the Bahamas with donations,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Our work to assist and support continues. And as our ships and our guests return to Bahamian ports of call, our visits will make sure that our guests experience the beauty of The Bahamas and that the economy moves forward and jobs will be supported.”

Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine ArisonFamily Foundation have pledged $2 million in funding and in-kind support for hurricane relief efforts in The Bahamas. Relief shipments on cargo vessels started arriving last week, and Carnival Pride and Carnival Liberty will also drop off supplies to Freeport on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13.

For more information, contact your travel agent or visit Carnival Cruise line at: Carnival

Anne’s Tips for Cruising to Alaska

Anne Vipond gets close to her work on an iceberg in Tracy Arm.


The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for anything, from warm sunny days to non-stop rain. The common advice is to dress in layers. Start with long pants and a light shirt, followed by a warm sweater, sweatshirt or fleece jacket, and topped with a rain slicker. A wide-brimmed hat is good for keeping both rain and sun off your face, and comfortable walking shoes are a must. When a ship draws close to a glacier the air can be very chilly, so a warm jacket and even a toque and gloves would be useful.

A good lens helps in getting great pictures in Alaska.


Viewing the rugged coastal scenery is a major incentive for cruising to Alaska and a balcony cabin maximizes your viewing opportunities. If you’re taking a one-way cruise between Vancouver and Seward or Whittier, keep in mind that the mainland mountain ranges will be best viewed from a starboard cabin if northbound, and a port cabin if southbound. If you’re taking a round-trip cruise from Vancouver or Seattle, it’s not critical which side of the ship your cabin is on. Also, regardless of whether you are on a one-way or round-trip cruise, once your ship pulls into a fjord for a close-up look at a glacier, the captain usually positions the ship first with one side facing the glacier, then turns the ship around so passengers on the other side can have a good look. Of course, any of the public decks at the bow are good places to view the scenery as is the uppermost deck where you can enjoy a 360-degree view.

Humpback whales in Alaska can usually be seen near Juneau and Glacier Bay in summer months.


I think some people assume they will see lots of marine mammals from the ship. But this is not a given, especially on the large ships. Fortunately, the selection of shore excursions offered in Alaska is amazing and many are designed to take viewers up close (but not too close) to specific species of wildlife. If, for example, seeing a humpback whale is apriority, I would highly recommend booking a whalewatching excursion out of Juneau, where humpback whales feed throughout the summer in nearby channels. Allen Marine Tours works with the cruise lines and offers half-day excursions on catamarans that are designed for stability and equipped with waterjets for speed and maneuverability. With deep roots in Alaska, the Allen family expanded its reach a few years ago with the launch of Alaskan Dream Cruises.

The unique itineraries offered by smaller expedition cruise companies operating in Alaska, will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure and curiosity. Passengers are taken off the beaten path in vessels that can navigate narrow channels and anchor in remote coves where further exploring is done in Zodiac inflatables or sea kayaks for close-up views of marine life. Beach landings and activities ashore include rainforest hikes and visits to native villages to learn about Tlingit culture and art, such as the carving of totem poles.

Expedition cruising is thriving in Alaska, but even if you’re booked on a large ship the shore excursions offered include wilderness adventures such as canoeing, kayaking, hiking and rock climbing, not to mention helicopter rides to sled dog camps where you can take a turn at mushing across a glacier.

Small ships such as the Seabourn’s 450 passenger Sojourn let you get much closer to Alaskan scenery.


For the best of both worlds, a luxury cruise on Seabourn’s 450-passenger Sojourn provides not only spacious accommodations and impeccable service but an expedition-style itinerary that follows narrow, twisting channels and stops at unspoiled hideaways, such as the Inian Islands, where the ship’s expedition team leads shore excursions in Zodiacs and sea kayaks. Sea otters are abundant in the waters off this cluster of small islands in Icy Strait, as are Pacific white-sided dolphins, orcas and humpback whales.

It’s actually quite difficult to recommend one specific Alaska cruise over another, because it really depends on what style of travel a person is looking for. A multi-generational family might prefer a large ship for the variety of facilities on board, such as a playroom for children and age-appropriate activities for teens, whereas an active couple might be happier on an expedition-style cruise. One of my favorite choices for cruising to Alaska is Holland America Line, which has been taking passengers to Alaska since the 1970s. With their flag-blue hulls and “dam” names, these modern mid-sized ships are run by Dutch officers and retain traditional features from the Golden Era of ocean liners, including teak wrap-around promenade decks lined with steamer chairs. Princess Cruises is another premium line with decades of experience in Alaska and a network of luxury lodges for passengers who want to combine a land tour with their cruise.

First Battery-powered cruise ship sets sail

The 20,000 ton Roald Amundsen can operate on battery power for up to an hour.

Oslo, Norway Reuters – The world’s first cruise ship propelled partially by battery power is set to head out from northern Norway on its maiden voyage, cruise operator Hurtigruten said on Monday.

The hybrid expedition cruise ship, the Roald Amundsen, can take 500 passengers and is designed to sail in harsh climate waters.

Named after the Norwegian explorer who navigated the Northwest Passage in 1903-1906 and was first to reach the South Pole in 1911, the ship heads for the Arctic from Tromsoe this week and will sail the Northwest Passage to Alaska before heading south, reaching Antarctica in October.

While the engines run mainly on marine gasoil, the ship’s battery pack enables it to run solely on batteries for around 45 to 60 minutes under ideal conditions, Hurtigruten Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam told Reuters.

The company estimates that the battery pack will reduce fuel consumption and save about 20% in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to if the ship was operating on marine gasoil alone.

“It’s designed to take excessive energy from the engines and put into the battery when the ship doesn’t need it, and put it back into the engine when the ship needs it — it is a way of reducing emissions significantly without having charging stations available,” Skjeldam said.

The company, which operates scenic cruise lines along the country’s fjords and into the Arctic, was inspired by Norway’s fleet of hybrid ferries and also its growing fleet of electric cars, he said.

Battery technology for propelling ships is in its infancy, even on shorter routes, as few ports provide charging stations.

“We expect batteries to be an important part of shipping in the years to come, but of course we don’t expect our ships to be able to operate only on batteries, because the ship can sail up to 18-20 days in areas where there are no charging points,” Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten expects infrastructure will improve on its traditional routes along the Norwegian coast, while currently charging services are only provided in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city.

Seabourn unveils suites on new luxury Expedition Ships

Seabourn’s new Venture is scheduled to launch in 2021.


Luxury cruise line Seabourn is giving travelers another look at their guest suites on its two new purpose-built expedition ships set to launch in June 2021 and May 2022. The Veranda, Panorama Veranda, and Penthouse suite categories are masterfully designed spaces that will provide beautiful and relaxing accommodations on Seabourn Venture and the soon-to-be-named sister ship.

“All of our spacious suites provide the expedition traveler with equal parts of adventure together with the best in luxury accommodation and service,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “Seabourn’s suites are created to invite guests to linger longer as we take them to diverse and remote locales around the world.”

Design elements such as parchment texture inspired wall panels and curvilinear arches reflect bygone maritime craftsmanship. Custom bedside panels recall luxury travel from another era yet are decidedly current with toggle switches, an analog clock and a fold away reading lamp, perfect for curling up with a custom Seabourn blanket. Guests are drawn into the space with organic shapes, materials like wood and stone, and intricately textured fabrics. Spacious bathrooms with separate shower and bathtub feature luxurious fittings. The ship’s art collection, curated to reflect that of a seasoned explorer, will extend beyond public areas into the ship’s all ocean front with private veranda suites as well.

Each suite will also have a built-in heated jacket wardrobe, where guests can grab a warm coat before heading out on a cool morning or hang their wet outdoor parkas and other gear to dry quickly once they return from adventures off the ship.

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. The ships are being designed from conception for expedition travel blended with ultra-luxury and personalized service by leading travel experts and seasoned professionals with great depth of experience in expedition, hospitality, and luxury cruising.

For more details about the award-winning Seabourn fleet, or to explore the worldwide selection of Seabourn cruising options visit Seabourn

Cruise lines scramble with new US rules on Cuba

Empress of the Seas was the last cruise ship to depart Havana after recent US ban.


Cruise lines have had to scramble to adjust to new restrictions from the United States government making it illegal to offer cruises to Cuba. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a statement shortly after the recent announcement from the Trump administration saying its members have been forced to eliminate all Cuba destinations effective immediately.

The CLIA statement goes on to say the ban affects nearly 800,000 passenger bookings that are currently scheduled or already underway. Passenger bookings had been made under a general license previously issued by the United States Government that authorized “people to people” travel to Cuba. “While this situation is completely beyond our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba.”

“We are disappointed that cruises will no longer be operating to Cuba,” said Adam Goldstein, Chairman of Cruise Lines International Association. “While out of our control, we are genuinely sorry for all cruise line guests who were looking forward to their previously booked itineraries to Cuba.”

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian said on Wednesday that they will no longer sail to Cuba, joining Carnival Corporation, which announced earlier in the day that it will no longer operate cruises to the island, effective immediately.

Norwegian Cruise Line rerouted its Norwegian Sun cruise to the Bahamas and, in a statement, thanked guests for their “patience as we navigate this unexpected, last-minute change.”

Royal Caribbean rerouted its Majesty of the Seas cruises, which were scheduled to arrive in Havana on Thursday and Friday. One cruise will now go to Costa Maya, Mexico, and the other will stay at sea for a day of cruising.

“All 2019 sailings on the Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas will have alternative ports in the Caribbean,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. Guests will have the option of canceling for a full refund or keeping their bookings, but going to a new destination and receiving a 50 percent refund.

In 2016, Carnival was the first U.S. cruise company to sail to Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

(With files from New York Times and CNN.)

Cruise Lines Staying Prepared for Possible Pirate Attacks

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas built for the Asian market.

From Travel Pulse – Pirate attacks may seem like an outdated relic of sailing, but two cruise lines have instituted preparation plans in case modern day pirates try to board one of the luxury ships.

According to CruiseRadio.net, Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of The Seas and Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess have developed exercises to prepare passengers in case one of the ships is attacked while sailing through areas known for piracy.

The Sun Princess warned travelers in advance they would be working on pirate drills that called for passengers to take shelter in the interior corridors while cruise line officials worked to avoid the sailing criminals. The precautions come as the ship is on a 99-day World Cruise.

As for the Spectrum of The Seas, officials from Royal Caribbean are conducting Safe Haven drills to help prepare passengers for the unlikely possibility that pirates attack the ship. Travelers are asked to move toward the center of the vessel and avoid windows and outside areas.

When the massive new ship was en route to China, it passed through the Gulf of Aden, and officials closed the Promenade Deck and asked passengers to close the curtains and turn off the lights in their staterooms to avoid drawing any extra attention.
In addition, Royal Caribbean added armed security officers to ensure the safety of passengers.

Holland America expands functionality of popular Navigator app

Holland America Line expands new Navigator tool functionality into a user-friendly,
free app for mobile phones and tablets that can be used on board.


Leveraging technology to further personalize the cruise experience, Holland America Line is expanding the functionality of its popular browser-based Navigator tool into a user-friendly, free app for mobile phones and tablets that can be used on board. iPhone and Android users can download the Navigator app from the iTunes App and Google Play stores, respectively.

Using Navigator, guests can plan daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, check their account statement and more. Expected to be the most popular feature is the chat function that enables guests to communicate with each other for free while on board.

“The Navigator app makes it easy for our guests to personalize their cruise experience from anywhere on the ship — whether they want to make a reservation at a specialty restaurant, see what the evening entertainment is or create a daily schedule with reminder notifications,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “The most exciting function of Navigator is that it allows our guests to chat with each other for free, which makes it easy to stay connected and make plans with fellow travelers throughout the cruise.”

With Navigator, guests also are able to select and save activities to personalize their daily schedule. Those activities appear alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions, keeping everything easily accessible in one place. Notifications can be set up to send reminders and alerts for reservations, messages and more.

Guests who forget to download the Navigator app prior to embarking can download it once on board free of charge without using internet minutes.

In the coming months, Holland America Line will extend the app offerings for both mobile phones and tablets — currently only available to use during a guest’s cruise — to offer pre-voyage access so guests can review available services and check out the interactive fleet map at any time before boarding the ship.

New HAL Pinnacle ship to be fourth Ryndam

Holland America’s new Ryndam will be a 99,500 ton ship carrying 2,666 guests


In a nod to its long line of historic ships that helped build the foundation for cruising as we know it today, Holland America Line announced that its next Pinnacle Class ship will be called Ryndam. The newbuild, due for delivery in May 2021, will be the fourth ship in the company’s history to carry the name.

Ryndam will be similar to sister ships Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, weighing 99,500 tons and carrying 2,666 guests. As the third in the series, Ryndam will feature enhanced Pinnacle Class amenities and innovations, along with Holland America Line hallmarks that drive one of the highest guest repeat rates in the industry.

“Holland America Line honors the timeless tradition of cruising while also embracing new innovations for today’s travelers, and the name Ryndam reflects the unique history of this company while honoring previous ships that were progressive in their time as this last Ryndam will be,” said Orland Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “From the first Ryndam more than 100 years ago to the most recent, the namesake ships have been beloved by our guests. The next Ryndam will bring new life to one of the most notable series of vessels in our history.”

The steel cutting for Ryndam, signifying the official beginning of the building process, was held March 13, 2019 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy. This will be the 17th ship constructed for Holland America Line by the Italian shipbuilder, which most recently delivered Nieuw Statendam.

Holland America Line’s Historic Ships Named Ryndam
The first Ryndam was part of the Holland America Line fleet from 1901 to 1929, starting as Rijndam before receiving the English spelling in 1923. In 1927 Ryndam I became the first Holland America Line ship to sail a world cruise, although it was chartered as a floating school at sea for that voyage. The second Ryndam served from 1951 to 1973, and the third sailed in the fleet from 1993 through 2015, when it was transferred to sister brand P&O Australia and now cruises as Pacific Aria.

Windstar begins massive ship-lengthening project in Italy

Windstar’s Star Legend accommodates just 212 guests.


Seattle-based Windstar Cruises has begun their ambitious project lengthening three of their ships at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Trieste, Italy. Steel was cut for the first of three new ships sections as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative in early April.

The $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising. Windstar will take half of its entire fleet – Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride – and renovate each ship in succession. The work on the first of the three ships begins on Star Breeze in October 2019 and shall end with the departure of the Star Pride from the yard in November 2020. This steel cutting marks the beginning of true project construction. The popular ships will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters. The total capacity of the “new” expanded ships will be 312 guests, and additional staff will be hired in order to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-service staff ratio.

The new sections will be built in Trieste and then will be transported south by barge to the Fincantieri yard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy to be inserted into the iconic Windstar ships along with the new engines. The timeline requires the new sections to be fabricated from April through September, shipped in October, and then inserted into Star Breeze so that she can be completed in time for her arrival for re-inaugural activities at the port of Miami on March 19, 2020.