Cruise News Shorts: Muster Drills, Unlimited Internet, Waterslides, Shrek and More

December 7, 2012
Predeparture Muster Drills Now a Must
The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency tasked with improving maritime safety, will incorporate the recommendation of the Cruise Lines International Association and European Cruise Council for mandatory passenger musters before departure from port. The predeparture muster will be required by all cruise vessels under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea regulations. CLIA and ECC announced all their cruise line members would mandate pre-departure musters effective February 9, 2012. Three other policies recommended by the two cruise organizations also were adopted by the IMO. These address the loading of lifeboats by crewmembers for training purposes, the recording of passenger nationalities and the common elements of musters and emergency instructions.

One Price, All the Internet You'd Like
Carnival Cruise Lines has expanded its trial of unlimited Internet packaging to Carnival Glory, bringing the number of cruise ships offering the package to two. Carnival Magic also is testing the package. According to a Carnival spokesman, there is no set price for the packages yet. "Packages will likely vary by itinerary so it's difficult to say exactly which of the new plans can be expected by currently booked guests on their upcoming cruises." Previous reports have quoted prices of $29.95 for a day of unlimited access and $119.95 for a week. Carnival is hoping to roll out the programs to its fleet "as quickly as possible."

When MSC Cruises' newest ship, Preziosa, hits the ocean in 2013 it will boast the longest waterslide at sea. Part of the ship's Doremi Castle Aqua Park, Vertigo will be more than 42 feet high and 394 feet long, full of twists and turns that shoot out over the edge of the ship in a transparent bubble. Riders, the line says, will travel at an average speed of 20 feet per second. Smaller slides, more appropriate for children, also will be available in addition to the Aqua Park, which is a new feature for MSC. It includes a series of water sprays, fountains, water pistols and valves designed to splash and soak.

More Shrek Please
Passengers onboard Mariner of the Seas will soon be able to interact with Shrek, Fiona and Kung-Fu Panda through the expansion of Royal Caribbean's partnership with DreamWorks Animation. This brings the number of Royal Caribbean ships offering the DreamWorks Experience to six: Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.

Miami Artist to Design Norwegian Cruise Ship Hull Artwork
As everything Norwegian Breakaway is related to its homeport of New York City, so too is everything Norwegian Getaway related to its homeport of Miami. With Miami's vibrant Latin culture in mind, Norwegian Cruise Line selected Miami-based artist David "Lebo" Le Batard to design Getaway's hull artwork. Lebo is a modern artist and muralist whose works can be found in museums throughout the U.S. and beyond. His design will feature a tropical ocean theme with pelicans, palm trees and even a mermaid. Norwegian Getaway will debut in 2014.

The Perfect Gift for Cruise Lovers
Bet you know a cruise lover or two who'd be thrilled to get a Carnival gift card for the holidays. The gift cards are new for Carnival and can be bought in any amount from $10 to $1,000. The prepaid cards can be used as payment for a cruise or toward a variety of shipboard purchases including spa treatments, shore excursions and specialty dining experiences.

Le New Ship
French luxury cruise line Compagnie du Ponent has ordered a new ship for its fleet, scheduled for delivery in June 2013. The yacht-sized ship, Le Soleil, will be a sister ship to L'Austral and Le Boreal.

Native Cruise Line Gets Second Ship
Alaskan Dream Cruises, a two-year old Native-owned cruise line based in Alaska, will launch a second ship, Baranof Dream, at the start of next year's Alaska cruise season. The 62-passenger ship will sail an 11-day itinerary exploring several of the state's lesser known islands and bays.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor