Cruise News Shorts: Bigger, Faster, Yummier (and Noro)

November 23, 2012
(12:15 p.m. EST) -- 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 bits sometimes catch our attention. Here are some interesting cruise tidbits we think you might like to know about.

Cruise Ship Swap
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean both switched their seasonal New Orleans-based ships this fall, booting out the smaller Norwegian Spirit and Voyager of the Seas and replacing them with larger ships. The replacements, Norwegian Star and Navigator of the Seas, both cruise from the newly renovated Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

New Wireless Initiative Promises Super Fast Cruise Ship Internet
MTN Satellite Communications is working on a new wireless project –MTN Nexus – that is says will "reinvent" shipboard communications. Without getting too technical, MTN Nexus is a hybrid technology that builds on the legacy of satellite-based cruise ship connectivity, but integrates new land-based wireless technologies into the system as well. Though parts of the satellite component will not be live for a couple of years, MTN has already and continues to install port-based wireless networks in 39 ports by the end of the first quarter of 2013, Cruise Industry News reports.

Sounds Délicieux
Passengers onboard Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf sailing yacht will soon be treated to a new French bistro-inspired restaurant, the Stella Bistro. Part of the ship's $18 million renovation, the 86-person restaurant will be ready for wining and dining on December 1 and will be exclusive to Wind Surf. Diners also can choose to include paired wines.

And Then There was Noro
As Voyager of the Seas made its arrival in Sydney Harbour for its debut season in Australia, the combination of an onboard outbreak of Norovirus and early-arriving passengers led to a delayed boarding for passengers on the Royal Caribbean ship. According to a report on Web site, some 135 passengers and eight crewmembers came down with the short-lived stomach bug, representing about 4% of the overall head count onboard. Passengers waiting for hours in long lines to board were given a statement saying extra cleaning was needed due to the outbreak. But in a statement issued to the media, the line said thousands of new passengers had arrived early in the hope of getting onboard ahead of their scheduled boarding time. Reportedly, rooms scheduled to be ready at 1:00 p.m. local time were not ready until 4:00 p.m., and many passengers waiting for a room were directed to the Windjammer restaurant onboard. Those who felt uncomfortable cruising due to the outbreak were offered replacement cruises at a later date.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor