Cruise News Shorts: Chair Hogs Beware, Deadbeat Ships and More Cruise News

August 31, 2012
(2:15 p.m. EDT) -- Every week we catch wind of so much cruise news, we don't always know what to do with it all, but a few standout items usually catch our attention. Here are a few cruise developments we think you might like to know about.

It's Chair Hog Hunting Season
Apparently Carnival's chair hog prevention trial on Carnival Breeze has been a huge success because the line – or rather the line's vocal Senior Cruise Director John Heald – has announced the program is about to go fleet wide. Heald triumphantly proclaimed to his Facebook fans that the program has meant "seat savers have been banished on all open decks." In a separate statement, Carnival said the program will be introduced on a gradual basis over the next couple of weeks. Fleetwide implementation should be completed by mid-September.

Mickey Does Galveston
As we reported in April 2011, Mickey Mouse and friends will descend on Galveston this September when Disney Magic begins sailing a series of 38 seven-night Western Caribbean cruises (through May 2013) from the port, the first time the line has ever sailed from Galveston. What's new is that sailings won't just be a one-season anomaly. Disney Cruise Line agreed to sail from Galveston for at least two seasons. Disney Wonder will take over the itinerary when the line returns to Galveston in September 2013. With Disney's presence in Galveston, the port will be home to five cruise ships (both seasonal and year-round) – Disney Magic/Wonder, Carnival Magic, Carnival Triumph, Royal's Mariner of the Seas and Princess' Crown Princess.

Pay Up, Please
Cruise ship Princess Danae, from the Portugal-based Classical International Cruises, was briefly detained in Dublin on Aug. 30 because its owners owed $94,000 in fuel costs. This is the second time in less than a year the ship has been detained in a port over unpaid bills, reported. Earlier this year, it was detained in Piraeus, but was allowed to depart after the two parties reached a payment plan settlement. Classical International Cruises, a division of Panama-based Waybell Cruises, Inc., owes Omega Bunker SRL for the fuel, which was supplied to the ship last fall. However, the Irish newspaper The Independent reported this morning that the ship was allowed to depart last night. "It is believed that a deal over fuel bills had been reached," the paper said.

Cabana, Cabana
Royal Caribbean is going cabana crazy over on Labadee, its private beach in Haiti. The line is increasing the number of cabanas offered for rent, Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal, wrote on his blog. "The Labadee cabanas have been a huge hit and so we have increased the number," he explained. Four over-the-water cabanas are being added to the 20 that already exist at the Barefoot Beach Club. Additionally, there are 16 new cabanas at Nellie's Beach and three wheelchair accessible cabanas also are available.

Star Clippers Says Welcome to Cuba (Unless You're American)
Want to sail to Cuba? Star Clippers, which operates a small fleet of tall sailing ships, has begun marketing a limited season of cruises to Cuba for 2014. But while word of these cruises may have reached American shores, that doesn't mean Americans can take advantage of them. Even though the Monaco-based cruise line has an American division (Star Clippers Americas), that division is prohibited by U.S. law from selling the line's Cuba cruises to American citizens. If you're not American, you're free to take them up on the offer and might want to check out the two repositioning cruises ending or originating in Cienfuegos, Cuba in February and March 2014.

Silversea Shows Belfastians Some Love
Until now, if you wanted to take advantage of Silversea's UK flight program but your home airport was Belfast, you were out of luck. But the luxury cruise line is finally giving its Northern Irish customers some relief.. That means complimentary economy return flights from Belfast, along with eight other cities, are now available on select sailings for the rest of 2012 and 2013.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor