March 21, 2014
Boatloads of Bandwidth
With the help of a new generation of satellites, the cruising world's biggest cruise ships now have some of the fastest Internet at sea. Simply put, by pairing the new satellites with specially built antenna arrays, passengers on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas can experience Internet speeds that match land-based speeds. Such speeds allow for streaming video, as well as posting videos to social media sites. Said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International: "If you're a first-time guest on one of these ships, you won't realize how much work it took to make the wireless so pervasive -- or that your cell 'tower' is 4,900 miles over your head. If you are a return guest, you'll be blown away by the improvement." According to a Royal Caribbean press release, the company is developing new pricing plans for the faster service.
The First Cut
Norwegian Escape is officially under construction in Germany. The first piece of steel was cut at the Meyer Werft shipyard for the ship, which is scheduled for delivery October 2015. The 163,000-gross-ton Norwegian Escape will be the largest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet when it is completed. It will homeport out of Miami and sail seven-night Eastern Caribbean voyages.
The $35 million project to widen and deepen Canaveral Harbor is set to begin next month. Once completed, Port Canaveral's 400-foot-wide harbor will be widened by 100 feet and the entrance to the port will be deepened by two feet to a 46-foot clearance. Estimates call for the work to be done by November of this year, though work on deepening the remainder of the channel will continue through November 2015.
Avalon Waterways recently welcomed Aussie TV personality, Deborah Hutton, onboard as its brand ambassador for Australia and New Zealand. The designation was inspired by the enthusiasm of Aussie and Kiwi cruisers for river cruises. As brand ambassador, Hutton will appear in advertising campaigns and other marketing initiatives. She also serves as godmother of Avalon's Illumination, which she christened last June.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor and Gina Kramer, Associate Editor