October 19, 2018

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.

Holland America Nieuw Statendam Completes Sea Trials

Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam is going through finishing touches to be ready this fall.


Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, the second Pinnacle Class ship in the fleet, returned to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy in late August after successfully completing two sets of sea trials off the coast.

Nieuw Statendam left Marghera Aug. 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into dry dock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where the trial’s data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed. The ship sailed its second sea trials Aug. 18, making its way back to Marghera Aug. 22 where the finishing touches will be completed.

“The sea trials are a highly anticipated milestone for any newbuild because it takes us one step closer to delivery, and we’re thrilled that Nieuw Statendam gave a strong performance out in open water,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Nieuw Statendam and the innovations we’re introducing on board. The ship is going to have an exciting debut in early December.”

During the sea trials, Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard’s team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship’s maneuvering characteristics and safety systems.

About Nieuw Statendam
Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam will explore the Caribbean in winter and then move to northern Europe, Iceland and the Mediterranean in summer during its inaugural year. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. From familiar elements that reflect a rich heritage and classic style to state-of-the-art enhancements that chart a bold new course forward, guests on board Nieuw Statendam will delight in details that are artfully inspired and perfectly presented to create the ultimate Pinnacle-class experience.

While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-Class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic “Statendam,” Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

Cruise Industry Kicks Off ChooseCruise Campaign in October

Cruise lines such as Seabourn Cruises are enjoying record bookings.


Washington, D.C., August 28, 2018) –This October, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community, is urging travelers to #ChooseCruise. The initiative, formerly known as Plan a Cruise Month, unites the global cruise industry — including cruise lines, travel agents and global CLIA offices — through an integrated campaign to promote positive messaging about why to choose and book a cruise vacation.

“The #ChooseCruise campaign is a way to highlight the many amazing reasons why travelers choose a cruise for vacation,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “From spa experiences onboard to one-of-a-kind adventures on land, cruise travel offers the chance to check off bucket list items in a fun, carefree way.”

Throughout the month of October, CLIA will leverage daily observances and holidays to highlight the many reasons to #ChooseCruise and integrate cruising into popular social conversations throughout the month. From National Taco Day and Sweetest Day to Picasso’s Birthday and Great Books Day, October is filled with observances that showcase the variety of amazing activities and experiences cruising has to offer. Follow CLIA social channels for more information and sharable content:

Princess Cruises Names Fifth Royal-Class Ship

New Enchanted Princess is scheduled for delivery in 2020.


As Princess Cruises fleet expansion continues, the premium international cruise line reveals the name of the ship it will launch in 2020 – Enchanted Princess.

Enchanted Princess is scheduled to debut on June 15, 2020 sailing on a series of European voyages. Bookings for her maiden season, summer 2020, will open on November 8, 2018.

“The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising,” said Jan Swartz president of Princess Cruises. “We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise vacation.”

Ms Swartz said Princess has the strongest pipeline of premium new ship builds in the world. The arrival of Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class vessel for Princess Cruises in 2021. The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-ton, 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s previous Royal-Class ships.

Princess Cruises currently operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing voyages around the globe. Enchanted Princess is a sister ship to four other Royal-Class ships in the cruise line’s fleet – Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess (joining the fleet in October 2019).

For more Enchanted Princess updates visit: Princess Cruises

Facts needed to address overboard incidents

All cruise ships maintain high guardrails to ensure passenger safety.


(Travel Pulse) Anyone who’s previously embarked on a cruise ship realizes it’s virtually impossible to “fall” overboard. Among other realities, the chest-high, sturdy iron railings aboard contemporary cruise ships ensure that only guests intent on engaging in risky or suicidal behavior end up overboard.

But for the millions of leisure travelers who’ve never been aboard a cruise ship—or a ship of any sort for that matter—media reports of passengers “falling” off are concerning.

In Facebook posts discussing the most recent highly publicized overboard incident, one travel agent complained some of her prospective first-time cruisers were now terrified of “falling off” their ship, should they choose to cruise.

The idea of facing a life-threatening situation while vacationing is naturally a sobering matter. However, media characterizations of overboard incidents, no doubt motivated at least in part by sensitivity to victims and their loved ones, routinely describe passengers as “falling” overboard.

So how should travel agents address this sensitive issue with prospective new cruisers? Well, it’s best to begin with some facts.

In its “Report on Operational Incidents, 2009 to 2017,” commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), U.K.-based analyst G.P. Wild studied a wide range of shipboard operational incidents—including passengers and crew going overboard.

The firm consulted sources including International Maritime and nautical organizations, trade and shipping industry publications, major newspaper and magazine accounts and cruise-line representatives.

Ultimately, G.P Wild found that “in every case where the cause of the [man overboard] was established following a careful investigation, it was found to be the result of an intentional or reckless act.”

The study also reported an average of 18.2 overboard incidents per year involving passengers and crew between 2009 and 2017. Annual cruise passengers grew from 17.8 million to 26.7 million during the same period.

Thus, overboard incidents represent an infinitesimal total compared with the millions of travelers who cruise each year. Simply put, such incidents are extremely rare.

The report also found that “After a low of 12 incidents in 2013, overboard incidents increased to 24 by 2015. [However] in 2017, [the number] returned close to a historically low level and the underlying trend remains downward between 2009 and 2017.”

Perhaps the most effective way to convince potential first-time cruise travelers that “falling” overboard is extremely unlikely is with a generous dose of truth.

“People just don’t ‘fall overboard’ from a cruise ship,” said Stewart Chiron, a Miami-based cruise expert who is also one of the country’s top cruise vacation sellers. “It occurs because of extremely poor judgment, carelessness or on purpose by the person(s) involved,” he said.

“Travel agents can reassure concerned guests that cruise lines take their safety to heart in every aspect of ship safety,” Chiron added. “The railings aboard cruise ships are higher than what’s required by law. Unfortunately like from hotel balconies, people do fall, but not because the balconies were unsafe.”

Chiron pointed out that statistically, “Sailing aboard a cruise ship remains the safest mode of transportation in the world.”

Perhaps it’s easy for those who haven’t cruised to believe they could “fall” from a ship. Despite its evolution from a travel industry niche to a mainstream vacation over the last 20 years, cruising remains shrouded in myths that have proven hard to shake.

It doesn’t help that the vast majority of global vacationers have never taken a cruise. When I served as director of public relations for CLIA in the early 2000’s, the fables surrounding cruises were known as “barriers to trial.”

These included the notion that cruise ships were confining, that only old and wealthy people ever took cruises, that cruises were a nonstop food fest and finally that there was “nothing to do” aboard cruise ships.

Such issues pale in comparison with a person going overboard, but they do indicate how little most people know about contemporary cruise vacations.

Yet each year more and more people cruise and discover what I’ve always found to be true: cruises offer a flexible, surprisingly diverse and most of all safe and enjoyable vacation form.

These days, when I’m asked about cruise passengers going overboard I frequently respond by saying I’ve taken more than 100 cruises and managed not to fall off “even once.”

However, going overboard into the ocean is no joking matter. That’s why agents should stick to the facts when addressing the issue with potential cruisers.

Keel Laid For Crystal Endeavor

New 20,000 ton Crystal Endeavor being built in German yard.


Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel was guest of honour last Tuesday at the keel-laying ceremony at the MV Werften shipyard in Stralsund for the 20,000-ton 200-berth luxury Ice Class expedition ship Crystal Endeavor.

According to Seatrade Cruise News, Merkel said it was an emotional day for her as she returned to her political home, Mecklenburg Vorpommern. ”People here in Stralsund will always do their best to create great value … We know how to compete. We are very proud in Mecklenburg Vorpommern and Germany and we want to make the label “Made in MV” an attraction,” she said.

Genting Hong Kong chairman and ceo Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay was also in attendance as part of Genting’s plan to revive shipbuilding on the northern shores of Germany. Historically, Germany has built 25% of the world’s cruise ships. Thanks to Genting Hong Kong’s investment, that will now go up to 35% by 2020, said Lim.

After a spate of European river ship introductions, Crystal Endeavor’s keel-laying shifts the focus back to Crystal’s ocean-going itineraries.

The Crystal Endeavor’s 20,000-ton sister ship is now scheduled for delivery in 2021, a year later than had been planned. And the Crystal Diamond, the line’s first 65,000-tonner, will follow in 2022.
Crystal Endeavor is now open for bookings for her first season, running from August 2020 through January 2021. And some 25% of her inaugural Antarctic seasion is already booked.

NCL takes delivery of Bliss

NCL’s new Norwegian Bliss will cruise Alaska this season.

(Travel Pulse) Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 168,028-gross-ton Norwegian Bliss from Meyer Werft during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The ship will operate a two-day preview cruise before cruising to Southampton, England, to begin its transatlantic journey on April 21. Upon arrival in the U.S. on May 3, NCL will host two-night preview events in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. The ship will be christened on May 30 in Seattle, from where it will begin a season of seven-day Alaska voyages on June 2.

Norwegian Bliss, the third ship in the line’s Breakaway Plus class, includes some new first-at-sea offerings such as the largest competitive racetrack at sea. The two-level, electric-car racetrack sits at the top of Deck 19, offering guests amazing views while twisting and turning at a speed of up to 30 mph. The ship also has an open-air laser tag course and a side-by-side multi-story race waterslide at the expansive Aqua Park. One waterslide extends over the edge of the ship and loops down to the deck below.

After its Alaska season, Norwegian Bliss will spend the fall cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter 2018, it will sail the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season, she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

To book a cruise on Norwegian Bliss, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE(625-2784), or visit NCL

The Perennial Allure of Alaska

Seabourn Sojourn offers a luxury cruise experience in Alaska.

Everyone, it seems, wants to see Alaska. And many of us prefer to view the region’s magnificent coastal scenery from the decks of a cruise ship. The appeal of this vast northern state of glacier-clad mountains and majestic fjords is as strong as ever and the selection of cruise lines and itineraries servicing Alaska continues to grow.

The city of Vancouver has long been the main turnaround port for cruises to Alaska and it now shares that status with Seattle. Most cruises out of Seattle are one-week round-trip itineraries while those from Vancouver cover a wider range of choices. These include round-trip cruises of the Inside Passage and one-way cruises to the Alaska ports of Seward or Whittier (both near Anchorage) where land tours to Denali are popular. Several cruise lines also offer round-trip cruises to Alaska from the California ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles. For cruise enthusiasts, Alaska has never been easier to visit.

The cruise lines servicing Alaska cover all categories, from contemporary to luxury to expedition. Some lines, such as Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, have been cruising to Alaska for decades and position a fleet of ships on the west coast throughout the May-to-October season. Other lines offering cruises to Alaska include Disney, NCL, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. In the luxury market, Crystal, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas have been joined by Seabourn, which returned to the region in 2017 after a 15-year hiatus. Cunard will be back in Alaska for the summer of 2019.

Expedition cruising is also thriving in Alaska, where wilderness and natural beauty are the star attractions. Alaskan Dream Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions, Ponant, Un-Cruise Adventures and Windstar all offer off-the-beaten track voyages with a close-up look at the scenery. But even if you’re booked on a large ship, the shore excursions offered include wilderness adventures such as kayaking, hiking, whale watching and rock climbing, not to mention helicopter rides to sled dog camps where you can take a turn at mushing across a glacier.

Expedition cruising includes sea adventures in Zodiac inflatables.


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 expert 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.

No matter which cruise line you choose, Alaska’s wilderness will be sure to steal the show.

Holland America Line Revamps Onboard Retail Experience

HAL revamps retail space on its ships with new supplier partnerships. The changes began with Veendam and will expand to half a dozen other ships.

Holland America Line is introducing a new retail experience on board its ships to better align with its ongoing brand evolution. The multi-faceted retail plan introduces new products and services, including an expanded logo collection, locally cultivated items, a new Fujifilm photo space and new supplier partnerships.

The retail rollout began with Veendam and expands to Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Westerdam and Zaandam over the coming months.

“Over the past several years we have significantly elevated our entertainment, enrichment and culinary programs to enhance the way our guests experience the global destinations we visit,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “This new retail strategy continues the path of introducing innovative, new shipboard opportunities to exceed the expectations of travelers today and in the future. With more premium products and selections that reflect the destinations they are visiting, plus an interactive and engaging new photo area, our guests will enjoy more meaningful keepsakes from their cruise.”

Holland America Line is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their mobile phones or memory cards using instant photo machines. Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more.

The retail enhancement introduces an expanded Holland America Line logo collection featuring iconic products that will leave guests with lasting memories of their cruise. From custom apparel to locally made artworks, the new items go beyond traditional cruise logo souvenirs. The new shops also will feature co-branded merchandise from some of Holland America Line’s partners including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, BBC Earth and America’s Test Kitchen.

To bring the destinations on board in an authentic way, the new retail program will showcase unique products from local artisans and designers that capture the cultures visited around the world.

Holland America Line is looking to make shopping more engaging and meaningful, and interactive and enriching events will be offered so guests can see the different items and peruse the space with guidance from helpful yet unobtrusive shop staff.

NCL Holdings Announces New Terminal in Miami

Artist rendering of new NCL terminal in Miami. The project is being designed by Bermello Ajamil & Partners of Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, unveiled the design of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami which has been the company’s home since its launch in 1966. Pending the final approval by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, the project will commence in May 2018, and is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2019.

“Norwegian has been sailing from Miami for over fifty years, longer than any other cruise line, and we are honored to be partnering with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County to construct an iconic terminal that will contribute to Miami’s world famous skyline and strengthen its position as the Cruise Capital of the World,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Norwegian is widely recognized for introducing modern-day cruising more than 50 years ago, by transforming a common means of transportation to a new style of vacation with its first Caribbean voyages out of the port of Miami and launching the city’s status as the “cruising capital of the world.” As a result of the continued relationship, Miami-Dade County will invest $100 million to build a new terminal dedicated to Norwegian Cruise Line, with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. augmenting the county’s allocated funds with its own contribution to PortMiami, as was unveiled today at a press conference held at the 2018 Seatrade Cruise Global exhibition.

“The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are grateful for Norwegian Cruise Line’s continued partnership.” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.

The modern terminal draws its inspiration from a nautilus, with its spiraled and multi-level façade, opening up to grand ocean views. Once complete it will be the new “pearl” of Miami, redefining the landscape of the city’s skyline. Innovative lighting, inviting indoor and outdoor waiting areas and other guest-centric elements will enhance the overall passenger experience. At nearly 166,500 square feet, the debuting Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers, and feature new technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation processes, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. A dedicated lounge and service area will facilitate a warm and welcoming sense of arrival for large groups and charters, and a new parking garage, and valet parking area with direct access to the terminal and lounge are also scheduled to be completed.

The Dutch charm of Curacao

Willemstad’s colorful harbor viewed from a cruise ship.


Few Caribbean ports of call can surpass the arrival awaiting passengers whose ship docks in Willemstad’s St. Anna Bay. As your ship approaches, the Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge swings open to allow entry into this narrow inlet overlooked by the restored waterfront warehouses of colonial Willemstad. Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997, Willemstad’s Dutch gabled buildings were first painted a variety of colors in 1817 when the governor complained that the sun’s glare off the stark white buildings was giving him headaches.

Those same colorful buildings now house shops, art galleries and restaurants catering to tourists that fill the narrow cobblestone streets. But it’s easy to leave the crowds behind when strolling this picturesque port, starting with the waterfront promenade. This walkway leads seaward from the pontoon footbridge to the battlements of Waterfort at the harbor entrance.

Soaking up the waterfront atmosphere in Willemstad.


At the other end of this compact town is another pedestrian bridge, this one straddling the narrow Waaigat Canal. Here you will find a floating market where Venezuelan boats loaded with fresh fruit, vegetables and fish sell their wares. Tourists looking for trinkets are studiously ignored by locals buying their groceries.

Large ships dock at the entrance to St. Anna Bay on Curacao.


Curacao was originally colonized by the Spanish but it wasn’t until the Dutch West India Company took possession of the island in 1634 that the port of Willemstad was established. The resourceful Dutch found a new role for the bitter-tasting Valencia oranges the Spanish settlers had tried to grow – they discovered that the fruit’s sundried peels contained an etheric oil which became the basis for Curacao’s famous liqueur.

The Curacao Liqueur Distillery is located in a former colonial mansion on the east side of Willemstad’s harbor, but we opted to spend the rest of our day in port by taking a taxi to the Hilton resort where a pleasant beach can be enjoyed followed by refreshments and lunch at an umbrella table on the patio overlooking the water.

We were thoroughly enjoying our interlude here when the iguanas showed up. They were very bold and one of the males was extremely large. As they closed in on us, we began to gather up our things in readiness to leave. That’s when a guest at the next table, an elderly woman, cheerfully told us not to be afraid of the iguanas.

“They’re plant eaters,” she said. “They won’t hurt you.”

Nonetheless, we decided it was a good time to return by taxi to the ship.