Wicked Storms, This Way Come
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has updated its Atlantic hurricane season outlook, and it's both good and bad news. Bad news first. The season, NOAA says, has a 70% chance of being "above normal with the possibility that it could be very active." But the good news is the updated outlook reduces expectations for extreme levels of activity. The new forecast calls for: 13 to 19 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes, of which three to five could be major (categories 3-5). So far, we've seen four named storms, though none have become hurricanes. The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season begins mid-August.
Love, Exciting and New. Come Aboard. We're Expecting You.
Raise a glass and blast the Love Boat theme song, it's the end of an era. The former Pacific Princess, which starred in the Love Boat TV series, arrived yesterday at a ship-breaking yard in Turkey where it will be broken apart and sold for scrap.
Need to know how to ask where the ATM is on your next port visit to a foreign country? Well, Celebrity Cruises has your back. The line recently launched a new app for cruisers facing language barriers when cruising. Cruise Lingo (similar to the app Trip Lingo) is a language translator and culture guide specifically made for cruisers. Users translate by speaking or typing phrases into the app. In addition to the translator, the app also provides language study guides and tips for etiquette, safety, dining, music and more. The free version of the app, available for Android and iOS smartphones as well as tablets, includes 80 standard phrases in 11 languages, 56 cruise-specific phrases and 20 free uses of the voice translator.
Buy Nine, Get Tenth Free
American Queen Steamboat Company introduced their loyalty program earlier this week. The Steamboat Society of America offers past passengers special benefits and rewards, including their tenth cruise free. Other benefits are priority check-in and pre-boarding; $100 in onboard credit per person on each cruise; a $200 per person credit towards a future cruise when booked with deposit onboard; referral credits; private member's only cocktail parties and more.
Time Machine at Sea
Grab your petticoat and bonnet, Un-Cruise Adventures has officially launched its newest un-ship, the 88-passenger S.S. Legacy. The ship sails historical-themed cruises during which crew dress in 1890s period costumes. Themes on tap for 2013 and 2014 include Gold Rush Legacy and Alaska's Golden History in the Inside Passage, and retracing Lewis and Clark's Expedition on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon.
Deal or No Deal
Norwegian Cruise Line and Belize have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that brings a cruise port on Harvest Caye closer to reality. But smooth sailing is not guaranteed. Located on the pristine southern coast of Belize, the Belize Tourism Industry Association has been outspoken in his desire to keep cruise ships out of the area.
It only took 20 years but a female captain has taken the helm of a Silversea ship this month. Captain Margrith Ettlin assumed command of 132-guest Silver Explorer on August 7. She will remain in charge until October. "Although we're not the first cruise company to have a female captain, we hope Captain Ettlin's achievement will inspire other women to pursue careers at sea," said Christian Sauleau, Silversea's executive vice president of fleet operations. Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to appoint a female captain back in 2007.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor, Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant, Gina Kramer, Associate Editor and Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor