Cruise News Update: May 13, 2023

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It was another busy week for cruise news, and Cruise Hive is here to bring you the top headline stories across the major cruise lines.

This week’s update has the news you want to read from Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and the Nassau (Bahamas) Cruise Port.

Cruise News Update

Cruise Hive has you covered with all the major developments from the past week, including major upgrades to the Nassau Cruise Port, the arrest of a cruise guest who allegedly planted a hidden camera on a Royal Caribbean ship, the Caribbean Princess deployed to homeport at Port Canaveral, the evacuation of a cruiser from Carnival Dream after he apparently ingested a battery, a maritime pilot who died while attempting to board the Diamond Princess, and the canceling of two Norwegian Joy cruises.

Nassau Cruise Port Completes Phase One Expansion

The first phase of a multi-year, massive revitalization project at Nassau Cruise Port is completed, and cruisers will get their first look at all of the improvements to the Bahamian port on opening day, May 26, 2023.

Upgrades to the port’s Prince George Wharf feature a new berth and the renovations of all piers. Thanks to the refit, the port can welcome six ships per day, including up to three of the industry’s largest ships in the Oasis and Icon classes.

A new arrivals plaza offers retail and dining spaces, a ground transportation center, plus entertainment venues such as an art gallery and theater. Green spaces also are featured, including an 11-acre waterfront development.

Nassau Cruise Port Upgrades
Nassau Cruise Port Upgrades

Further upgrades are planned during Phase 2 of the project, which in its entirety will cost a whopping $300 million. Construction work for Phase 2 will continue through 2024, adding a signature restaurant and new family-friendly activity spaces.

The expansion completed so far will enable the port to accommodate more than 30,000 cruise guests per day, up from the 20,000 it could handle in the past.

It means that the port can expect to welcome 4 million cruise passengers in 2023. That puts Nassau into the No. 2 position of busiest cruise ports, behind Cozumel, Mexico.

The revitalization of the port is a joint project between the Bahamian government and Global Ports Holding, the world’s largest port operator with facilities in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Cruiser Charged With Planting a Camera in Bathroom

On the April 29 departure of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, a guest was arrested on charges tied to the installation of a hidden camera in a public bathroom on Deck 16 of the ship, which was sailing a Caribbean cruise from Miami.

The suspect, Jeremy Froias, is said to have captured himself on video setting up the camera in the bathroom, and adjusting it to focus on the toilet.

The bathroom is located in a busy space, between a FlowRider surfing simulator and the Wipe Out Bar, and is a place where many guests change in or out of swimwear. Froias allegedly used Wi-Fi to connect the camera to his personal iPhone.

Hidden Cruise Ship Camera
Hidden Cruise Ship Camera

The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation of the bizarre case after another cruise guest discovered the camera on May 1 and alerted the ship’s crew. Officials believe Froias placed the camera on April 30, which would have been the second day of the voyage, with the ship in international waters.

Crew members reviewed footage from the camera and interviewed Froias, who they said admitted he had installed it. It is believed that some 150 people are shown in the camera’s video footage, and roughly a third of them are minors.

Froias, who was working as a cybersecurity officer for the Florida city of Kissimmee, is facing charges of video voyeurism and attempted possession of child exploitation material. He has since been terminated from his job.

The sailing aboard the 5,479-guest Harmony of the Seas continued uninterrupted and made her planned calls to St. Maarten, San Juan, and CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island, before returning to Miami on May 6.

Caribbean Princess Will Call Port Canaveral Home

Chalk up another win for Florida’s Port Canaveral. Princess Cruises has decided to base the 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess at the port from November 2024 through April 2025, and perhaps longer.

Port Canaveral, which emerged this year as the busiest cruise port in the US in terms of passenger traffic, already is the homeport for ships owned by Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.

It also is a popular port of call for ships sailing the Eastern Seaboard, thanks largely to its proximity to the Orlando-area theme parks.

Caribbean Princess Cruise Ship
Caribbean Princess Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

Caribbean Princess will dock at the port’s Cruise Terminal 6, which sister line Carnival Cruise Line regularly uses. The Grand-class ship will sail her maiden voyage from the port on November 27, 2024. The 4-night cruise will call at Turks and Caicos for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Eight-night Eastern Caribbean cruises will visit St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Grand Turk, while 6-night Eastern Caribbean sailings will call at Nassau, Grand Turk, and either Amber Cove or San Juan. The ship’s 8-night Western Caribbean cruises will visit Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Roatan, Honduras.

Port Canaveral recently edged out PortMiami as the busiest cruise port in the US, based on 2022 passenger numbers, welcoming 4,072,396 cruise guests. Last month the port announced it would build another cruise terminal, with completion slated for 2026, to accommodate its growing popularity.

Suspected Battery Ingestion Prompts Guest’s Evacuation

A potentially dangerous and highly unusual medical emergency unfolded onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream on May 6, when an elderly cruise guest was thought to have ingested a battery. It happened soon after the 6,630-guest Carnival Dream sailed out of the Port of Galveston on an 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.

A medical evacuation call was sent out to the U.S. Coast Guard after the ship’s medical team determined the 86-year-old man was experiencing gastrointestinal issues and other effects from ingesting a battery.

Coast Guard Battery Rescue
Footage Courtesy: US Coast Guard

The ship was about 50 miles from Galveston when an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Houston was dispatched to evacuate the guest. The chopper transported him to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

It was not determined whether a battery had been ingested, or just suspected, and no additional information about the guest, including his identity, has been released.

There are various types and sizes of batteries, with some as small as a button, like those used in watches or hearing aids, for instance. But they can react in harmful ways inside the human body, particularly if they contain mercury, cadmium, or other toxic substances.

Following the evacuation, Carnival Dream continued on her voyage, with calls scheduled for Key West, Freeport, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, Bahamas. The 128,250-gross-ton ship is due to return to Galveston on May 14.

Maritime Pilot Dies While Trying to Board Diamond Princess

A tragic accident led to the death of a maritime pilot as he attempted to board Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess and guide her into the port of Nagasaki, Japan, on May 5.

The pilot, Yoshihiro Osuga, age 69, fell into the ocean while transferring from a pilot boat to the cruise ship. The ship’s crew launched a rescue boat and retrieved the pilot from the water, but he had already died.

Maritime, or harbor, pilots are often called upon to guide cruise ships into port, and can face difficult conditions while using rope ladders to get onboard. Mr. Osuga had 15 years of experience in the role, was wearing a life jacket, and the sea conditions were calm at the time.

Princess Cruises Pilot
Princess Cruises Pilot (Photo Credit: Stories In Light / Shutterstock)

The Japan Coast Guard is investigating whether the pilot boat shook or even possibly hit Diamond Princess, causing the pilot to fall. The ship was less than three miles from the port when the accident happened.

Crew members and maritime pilots receive training and are regularly reviewed for required skills. The “Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping” (STCW) serves as the mandatory training and certification benchmark for seafarers worldwide.

The 2,670-guest Diamond Princess continued her journey, docking at Nagasaki and departing the same day for Yokohama. The ship sails in Asia year-round, offering various itineraries to destinations such as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. 

Two Norwegian Joy Voyages Are Cancelled

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy is headed to dry dock in January 2024 for a revitalization, but now it seems likely that upgrades to the ship will take longer than anticipated since the cruise line has canceled two of the ship’s voyages departing in February 2024.

Guests booked on the affected cruises were notified of the cancelations by email, and are being offered refunds and other compensation.

The email to guests and travel agents said, “As part of our commitment to continuously offer extraordinary vacation experiences around the world for our guests, and to uphold a consistent world-class product across our fleet, Norwegian Joy will be undergoing a revitalization in early 2024. In order to complete these enhancements, Norwegian Joy’s sailings on February 5, 2024, and February 17, 2024, have been canceled.”

Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship
Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock)

The February 5 sailing was to have been a 12-night transatlantic sailing from Southampton to Miami, with calls at Le Havre (Paris), France; Vigo, Spain; and Ponda Delgada in the Azores.

Also canceled is the February 17 departure of a 7-night Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami, scheduled to call at Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, and Cozumel, Mexico.

Full refunds for the cancelled cruises will be paid back to the original form of payment, and guests who used a future cruise credit (FCC) to book either cruise will see the credit returned to their Latitudes loyalty account.

Additionally, guests will receive a future cruise discount of 10%, which can be applied to any Norwegian Cruise Line sailing through December 31, 2024. These FCCs will appear in travelers’ accounts by May 15, 2023. The Breakaway-class ship accommodates 3,804 guests.

More Cruise Headlines

There were many other intriguing cruise stories from the past week that we covered on Cruise Hive, including Explora Journeys’ efforts to court multi-generational family groups, Virgin Voyages waiving single supplement fees on Europe sailings this summer, an update on Carnival Pride’s dry dock projects, Holland America Line raising funds for an Alaska conservation group, and the iconic Queen Mary once again welcoming visitors to her berth in Long Beach, California.

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