The cruise terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico has suffered extensive damage and will be out of action for weeks.
Puerto Rico really is suffering at the moment since Hurricane Maria devasted the U.S. territory in the Caribbean just days ago at a category 4. The cruise port in San Juan also got hit by the Hurricane and Carnival Cruise Line Ambassador John Heald has posted that the Carnival cruise terminal has “sustained extensive damage” and will be out of action for weeks.
John Heald posted on his Facebook page the following:
Port officials have informed us that our terminal in San Juan has sustained extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Maria. The assessment is still in progress but it now appears that it will take several weeks to make the necessary repairs.
The cruise terminal which is at pier 4 is managed and used by Carnival which also includes sister cruise lines like Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. The terminal is located in old San Juan has is not just a popular cruise destination but also used as a home port. The U.S. Coast Guard is assessing the port damage and we do expect further updates in the coming days.
At the moment Carnival Fascination is being impacted by the closure of San Juan Port and John Heald also posted an update on the situation:
The Port of San Juan is currently closed. Fascination guests currently on board enjoyed a day in Antigua today and are now on their way to San Juan. Our intention is to be in position to dock this weekend, in the event the port re-opens, in order to give guests an opportunity to debark, if they wish to do so. Alternatively, guests may also remain on board as the ship repositions to Miami, where it will arrive on Tuesday afternoon and stay until Wednesday. Our airline partners are committed to working with our guests to waive any change fees associated with rescheduling flights.
Upcoming sailings for Carnival Fascination have also been affected and Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled San Juan and Barbados departures. San Juan sailings on September 24, October 1 and October 8 are now cancelled. Barbados sailings on September 27, October 4 and October 11 are also cancelled. The cruise line is refunding the full cruise fare.
British-based cruise line Saga Cruises has ordered another new ship and guess what? It isn’t your usual mega huge ship!
Saga Cruises which is a luxury cruise line in the UK has ordered a new cruise ship to expand the fleet. The new ship will be named Spirit of Adventure and will be identical to the previously ordered new build of Spirit of Discovery.
“Our first new ship, Spirit of Discovery, will be in service in June 2019 and with pre-sales being very strong, this confidence in demand has supported our decision to expand the new build fleet and purchase our second new ship, to be delivered in August 2020.”
You’ll be surprised to know that the ship will just be 58,250 gross tons and be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. So the ship will have the same design and sister to Spirit of Discovery, both ships will help expand Saga Cruises into a leading UK luxury cruise line.
Robin Shaw, chief executive, Saga Cruises, said:
“Our loyal customers have played a key role in the design process for our first new build ship ‘Spirit of Discovery’. To date almost 7,000 passengers, who had pre-registered to sail on her have already gone on to book one of our new itineraries. This is a phenomenal conversion of over 80%.
Spirit of Adventure will be delivered in Summer 2020 and will join its sister ship Spirit of Discovery which arrives in July 2019. The ship will be able to carry 1,000 passengers.
Cruise passengers frequently set sail with the same cruise line over and over and over again, and not just because they like that specific line. Cruise lines offer a wide range of tempting benefits to repeat passengers, and the more you set sail, the better your individual rewards. But are those rewards worth staying loyal to just one line?
What Cruise Line Loyalty Programs Offer
Every cruise line offers different benefits to its most loyal guests, often with several tiers of recognition for passengers who keep returning. While the exact benefits available vary between different lines and different tiers, typical loyalty rewards include…
Exclusive sales or priority access to bookings and sale rates
Regular newsletters or member communications
Exclusive phone numbers or other contact information
Drink coupons or beverage discounts
Free gifts and souvenirs, often collectible or personalized
Priority consideration for dining, spa or shore tour reservations
Priority embarkation, debarkation or tender access
Complimentary laundry, dry cleaning or shoe polishing services
Advance access to bookings for new cruises, new ships or onboard reservations
Onboard parties or receptions, often with free drinks or hors d’oeuvres
Priority seating at signature entertainment events
Cabin upgrades when available
Dedicated lounges during the cruise
Discounts for onboard shops or photo gallery pictures
Free or discounted internet access or online packages
Free onboard credit or even the ability to earn a free cruise
Loyalty program benefits can change as cruise lines adjust their programs, and not all benefits are necessarily available aboard every ship or sailing. For example, some past guest parties or receptions are only held on longer cruises, or priority embarkation procedures may not be available at every embarkation port.
Earning Your Benefits
With cruise line loyalty programs, the more you sail, the more rewards you earn, but how do those rewards add up? Different cruise lines calculate past passenger loyalty in different ways. Some cruise lines count only the number of total cruises completed, regardless of the length of the cruise – a seven-night cruise would count the same as a three-night cruise in terms of building loyalty. Other lines count the days sailed, whether the cruises are long or short, and more days add up to more benefits. Some cruise line loyalty programs also offer extra points or reward benefits for booking suites or other luxury staterooms.
Cruise line loyalty programs typically never expire, but lines may adjust their loyalty programs at any time, which could cause passengers to inadvertently switch tiers. It should also be noted that the benefits and loyalty from one cruise line do not generally transfer to a different cruise line, even if both lines are run by the same parent corporation.
Is It Worth It?
With so many benefits available to loyal cruisers, there is no reason not to join a cruise line’s loyalty program. Joining is free and most lines offer at least some benefits after a passenger’s very first cruise. Because those benefits do not expire, they can be invoked at any future time even for guests who don’t have the opportunity to sail frequently. Passengers who do sail regularly, however, may consider staying loyal to just one line in order to build up their reward benefits more quickly, but is this worthwhile?
If one cruise line truly represents your ultimate vacation, it can be very nice to build up loyalty benefits not only to receive discounts to take more vacations, but to get special rewards and priority treatment while cruising. It can be a fun goal to plan vacations to reach the next tier of benefits, and to enjoy what new surprises cruise lines create to keep enticing their loyal passengers to return. It can be especially easy to build up loyalty on one cruise line if your home port only services a single cruise line, or if it is easiest for you to reach an embarkation port with just one cruise line.
If you enjoy cruising with multiple lines for the different experiences they offer, however, or if you can easily reach different, busier embarkation ports, you may not want to restrict yourself to a single cruise line, no matter what loyalty rewards they offer. Of course, there is no reason why you can’t work to build up loyalty benefits on different cruise lines. These are not competitive offers and you are not disqualified from one line’s program just because you happen to be a loyal passenger on another line as well.
Whether you want to be part of Carnival’s VIFP Club, Disney’s Castaway Club, Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society, Celebrity’s Captain’s Club, Princess’s Captain’s Circle, Norwegian’s Latitudes Rewards or any other cruise loyalty program, these can be great rewards programs to be a part of. As you build up more loyalty rewards with multiple lines, you will find yourself enjoying cruising more and more with all the benefits you’ve earned.
The Port of Key West is opening back up for cruise ships as the popular cruise destination recovers after Hurricane Irma.
Cruise Ships are set to return to Key West with the first cruise ship docking at the popular south Florida destination on Sunday, September 24. Hurricane Irma has badly damaged not just Key West but all of the Florida Keys but recovery efforts are in full swing. The sooner cruise ships can start calling there the better for local businesses and the economy.
Empress of the Seas operated by Royal Caribbean will be the first cruise ship to dock in Key West since Hurricane Irma hit almost two weeks ago. The cruise line has already confirmed the scheduled port of call for the ships 4-night September 23 sailing from Tampa, Florida. In addition, the ship has already started its regular calls to Havana, Cuba.
Here’s what Royal Caribbean posted:
We are happy to announce that we received confirmation that we can return to Key West starting this weekend with our call on Sunday, September 24th. With both Havana and Key West ready, and excited to welcome us, we are now able to offer the Royal Caribbean vacation guests are looking forward to.
Immediately following Hurricane Irma we recognized guests may have had concerns visiting Cuba and offered the ability to cancel and receive a future cruise credit. As Havana and Key West are both ready to welcome guests, our offer will end by close of business Sunday, September 24. All cancellations to receive a cruise credit must be completed by this time so we can offer the stateroom to another traveler.
More cruise ships from other cruise lines are expected in the coming days as ship itineraries try their best to stay on schedule. Even though Key West is back open for thousands of cruise ship passengers, not all services may yet be operating as normal and it will take some time for Key West to recover.
Cruising South Florida soon? Need help deciding what to do while you’re in port?
The Fort Lauderdale port and PortMiami are among some of the most visited by cruisegoers. Many cruises depart from the South Florida area and many more stop by from around the world.
PortMiami is even known by many as the “Cruise Capital of the World” and the port is the global headquarters of several major cruise lines.
Whether you’re looking to spend a few days looking around South Florida before a cruise or whether you’re spending a day in port, there are some amazing ways to spend your time.
Below are the top 5 places you must visit when cruising South Florida.
1. Hang Out at South Beach
South Beach, also known as SoBe, is Miami’s most vibrant hot spot that is filled with culture. The neighborhood is filled with amazing sounds, sights, smells. There are always plenty of interesting (and beautiful) people to meet or watch while you’re lounging in the sand.
Many of the major hotels are located in the neighborhood, so there’s always a large tourist population exploring the area. However, South Beach is also popular among locals.
The ocean and sand are great for a quick dip or working on your tan.
Besides the excellent beach, there are some great shops and restaurants to check out. You can also check out the exceptional Art Deco architecture in the area.
While South Beach is a great spot to sunbathe and “people watch” during the daytime hours, the area is also an unbeatable nighttime spot.
If you’re looking for a place to party while in port, South Beach is an active spot full of amazing bars and clubs that are great for dancing and enjoying a delicious cocktail.
However, it can be overwhelming for some.
If you’re looking for a more laidback beach to hang out on you may want to look northward. Head up to Fort Lauderdale Beach instead if you’re looking for something calmer.
2. Tour the “Venice of America”
There are some great intercoastal waterways located in Fort Lauderdale, the “Venice of America”. The city is located just north of Miami, and the city’s port also sees a lot of cruisegoers every year.
The canals located in Fort Lauderdale are even more extensive than those of Venice. Fort Lauderdale features 165 miles of waterway compared to Venice’s 26 miles.
There are plenty of water taxis located along the waterway so you can easily get a ride and explore the rivers of the city. Taxis pick up every 30 minutes all along the route in the city, so you can easily hop on or hop off.
You can relax and sit back as you watch the river and simply enjoy the sights or the area. You can also explore the varied attractions and hotspots such as the Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Riverwalk, or Las Olas.
3. Visit Las Olas
One of the attractions located along the Intercoastal Waterways, Las Olas is an excellent area to visit if you’re cruising South Florida.
There are plenty of destinations for shopping and dining experiences in Las Olas. In the are you’ll find bars, nightclubs, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and more. You can also enjoy your time strolling down the boulevard and ducking into the many sub-tropical breezeways in the area.
You can check out the NSU Museum of Art which hosts over 6,000 art pieces which are about the South Florida culture and its diverse people. You can also check out the Stranahan House, a historic home that is the oldest home in Fort Lauderdale.
You may choose to visit some of the high-end boutiques in Las Olas, swing by a local art gallery, and afterward have an amazing casual dinner at a popular local spot such as the Mangos Restaurant and Lounge or The Royal Pig.
4. Explore the Everglades
It’s hard to talk about South Florida without mentioning the extensive subtropical wilderness of the Everglades National Park.
If you’re cruising South Florida it would be foolish not to take a visit to the Everglades. The park is one of the most popular National Parks in the country and is unlike any other place in the United States.
The park features over 1.5 million acres and is the protected home of many different types of wildlife and plant life. You can see many species of birds and fish in the Everglades or even catch sight of one the deadly alligators that Florida is well known for.
You can explore the area on your own by hiking, kayaking, or by riding your bike on the many trails and areas in the park. You may also want to take a guided tour or hire an airboat to show you around instead.
5. Experience “Little Havana”
Another hotspot of Miami, Little Havana is a neighborhood that is famous for its collection of Cuban culture. The neighborhood is a center for amazing dining and shopping experiences and offers a unique cultural experience that can only be found in Miami.
You’ll have an amazing time enjoying the authentic Cuban music, drinks, and cuisine while in Little Havana. You can also try salsa dancing at Hoy Como Ayer or the Ball & Chain.
There are also other sights to see in Little Havana. You may also want to visit the Freedom Tower, an octagonal tower that is an engineering and architectural marvel. You can also visit the home of Miami’s popular Major League Baseball team, the Florida Marlins and stop in to watch a game.
A British-based P&O cruise ship has suffered from an engine fire and power outage while sailing towards the next port of call.
P&O Aurora which is operated by British-based P&O Cruises has suffered from a brief engine fire. As a result, the ship had a power outage and was adrift for some time. The engine fire broke out on Thursday at around 1:00 PM while the vessel was in the Atlantic Ocean.
A statement received from P&O Cruises:
Aurora suffered a temporary power failure yesterday which is being investigated. All guests and crew are safe and the ship immediately ran on back up generators. All services are running as normal on board.
Aurora is on a 30 night North America & Canada which departed Southampton on August 27, 2017 and is currently en route to the Azores. The ship is due to return to Southampton on September 26, 2017. The onward itinerary is unaffected.
No injuries have been reported and the ship’s crew extinguished the engine room fire not long after. Power was also restored and the ship is now operating as normal with no threat to crew or passenger safety.
Hi Garry, Aurora suffered a temporary power failure and is now back-up online. This should not affect future itineraries.
P&O Aurora was sailing towards its scheduled call in Praia Da Vitoria, Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship is then scheduled to arrive back at its home port of Southampton, UK on September 26. The cruise line isn’t expecting any impact on upcoming sailings.
P&O Aurora is a 76,000 gross ton cruise ship and can carry 1,870 passengers at double occupancy.
St. Thomas has just experienced Hurricane Maria and it really doesn’t look good with widespread flooding and further damage after Irma earlier in the month.
Hurricane Maria has followed in the footsteps of Hurricane Irma and caused major damage and devastation at many popular cruise destinations in the Eastern Caribbean. New photos and footage are starting to come out from St. Thomas which Maria has not long passed as a category 4.
View St. Thomas After Hurricane Maria
**** Photos comnig out of St Thomas, USVI **** Some of the latest photos coming out of St Thomas, after Maria passed by.
As seen in many of the photos posted by our friends at I Like Cruise Ships St. Thomas has some bad flooding in many areas. One of the photos shows the marina and shops just across from the main cruise port in Charlotte Amalie totally flooded out and damaged.
Footage from Mike Brennan was posted online too as Hurricane Maria came close to St. Thomas. We get a glimpse of the cruise ports and surrounding area including downtown.
St .Thomas which is located in the U.S Virgin Islands has now suffered from a second powerful Hurricane and with further damage and devastation, it will take a long time until cruise ships will go back.
Hurricane Maria has now passed St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. The storm which is expected to become a category 4 once again is heading towards another popular cruise destination of Grand Turk.
Relief efforts will continue from authorities and cruise lines but now the struggle ahead will be even harder. Our thoughts go out to all the people there affected and we hope they can recover in time.
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma continues to impact cruise ship itineraries and Carnival Cruise Line is replacing Hurricane hit destinations on some upcoming sailings.
Carnival Cruise Line has released further itinerary adjustments due to heavily damaged and devastated ports of call in the Eastern Caribbean due to Hurricane Irma. Irma was a powerful storm which reached a category 5 and hit popular cruise destinations of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Key West and more.
Even though most sailings are now departing as normal the cruise line has changed some calls so that guests can still enjoy time in port and stay safe.
Carnival Cruise Ship Altered Itineraries
Carnival Ecstasy – September 20 Departing Charleston on a 5-day cruise to Nassau and Freeport.
Carnival Sensation – September 21 Departing Miami on a 4-day cruise to Cozumel.
Carnival Splendor – September 23 Departing Port Everglades on a 7-day cruise to Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay and Grand Cayman.
Carnival Vista – September 23 Departing Miami on an 8 day cruise to La Romana, D.R., Aruba and Curacao.
Carnival Conquest – September 24 Departing Port Everglades on a 6 day cruise to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Carnival Magic – September 24 Departing Port Canaveral on a 6 day cruise to Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.
Carnival Pride – September 24 Departing Baltimore on a 7-day cruise to Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport.
Carnival Paradise – September 25 Departing Tampa on a 5-day cruise for an overnight stay in Havana.
Carnival Victory – September 25 Departing Miami on a 4-day cruise to Cozumel.
Carnival Glory – September 30 Departing Miami on a 7-day cruise to Half Moon Cay, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Carnival Sensation – September 30 Departing Miami on a 5-day cruise to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.
Carnival Splendor – September 30 Departing Port Everglades on an 8-day cruise to Princess Cays, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Carnival Pride – October 1 Departing Baltimore on a 7-day cruise to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.
Pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for cancelled ports, as well as any taxes, fees and port expenses will be refunded to your onboard Sail & Sign account. An email with detailed itinerary information will be sent to all guests scheduled to sail on these cruises. We sincerely apologize for the disruption the recent storms have caused and look forward to welcoming our guests on board.
At this time, all other future cruises will depart as scheduled.
Further cruise ship itinerary adjustments may occur from other cruise lines too. It is expected to take a while for several popular cruise ports to open for regular cruise business.
Hurricane Maria is sweeping across the Eastern Caribbean causing major destruction and is now heading towards the Turks and Caicos Islands including Grand Turk.
Hurricane Maria has already pounded Puerto Rico and devastated the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos are also in Maria’s path and it isn’t looking good. The eye of Maria will hit or get very close to Grand Turk on Thursday night and could cause a huge amount of devastation.
The popular cruise ship destination is already suffering since being hit head-on by Hurricane Irma on September 7. There was widespread destruction but thankfully the main cruise port only suffered minor damage and has been ready for cruise ships. The Royal Navy has also been on hand to restore Grand Turk services and Carnival Cruise Line is involved in sending supplies to help those in need.
When Hurricane Maria hits Grand Turk structures already damaged or destroyed will make things even more dangerous with more flying debris. In preparation of Maria, the UK military has been dropping last minute supplies and shelters have been set up not just on Grand Turk but the entire Turks and Caicos.
Hurricane Maria at Category 3
Hurricane Maria is a major category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 115 MPH. The storm could become even more powerful now that it is back over the warm ocean after Puerto Rico.