Carnival Corp. will purchase seven acres of land in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam, to bolster crew training operations for all 10 of its cruise line brands through the construction of a larger training campus. The cornerstone of the new facility will be an expanded Center for Simulated Maritime Training, which Carnival Corp. originally established in the area in 2009. The center, which provides instruction for ship captains, officers and engineers, is able to simulate nearly any port of call for situation-specific training purposes. This comes almost two years after the sinking of Costa Concordia and nearly a year after Carnival Triumph was disabled by an engine room fire that left the ship and its passengers adrift for four days without hot food or functional toilets. In both cases, crewmembers were praised for going above and beyond to assist passengers.
I'm Singing With My Wine
Wine-loving Norwegian Cruise Line cruisers take note - Norwegian Getaway, the line's newest ship, set to sail in January, will feature the Wine Lovers the Musical lunchtime show. An interactive food and entertainment experience, the show combines musical theater with six wine tastings and lunch. Offered twice per sailing, the show costs $25 per person.
Spin Masters Hit the High Seas
Costa Cruises' Costa Pacific and Costa Serena are giving the line's "New Costa Adventures" kids program a whirl, before it rolls out to the rest of the fleet in spring 2014. The program, which partners Costa with children's entertainment company, Spin Master, offers SpyGear covert mission kits for secret agent kids, an Aquadoodle color mat for toddlers, aerial acrobatics with remote-controlled Air Hogs and learning to guide the Flying Fairy.
UK Door-to-UK Door Service
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has launched a free door-to-door pick-up service for passengers on the line's longer-duration 2014/15 cruises. For bookings made up to February 28, 2014 on a selection of 21 longer cruises, passengers who live within 250 miles of the departure port will be entitled to a free cab service. The service is part of Fred.'s ongoing attempts to woo new cruisers: last month it launched a money back guarantee if you decide within 48 hours the cruise you are on is not for you.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor, Dori Saltzman, News Editor, Gina Kramer, Associate Editor and Adam Coulter, Cruise Critic UK Senior Editor