Cruise News Shorts: A Quantum Secret, Norwegian Pulls Drink Package and More Cruise News

February 22, 2013
(12:23 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.

Quantum Leak
Shh, Royal Caribbean has a secret – or at least its trying to keep it secret, but information about Quantum of the Seas just keeps leaking out. Last week we learned Quantum of the Seas will be calling on St. Maarten beginning in December 2014. And this week, U.K.-based cruise blogger Malcolm Oliver revealed some of the first photos of the ship obtained from Meyer Werft. Among the pics available are images of the first steel-cutting and a tank-testing model by which the shape and hydrodynamics of the ship are tested. Oliver also claimed to have discovered the berth statistics for the ship, namely 4,100 passengers, double occupancy and 4,905, full occupancy. Royal Caribbean declined to comment on the leaked information.

A Dry Spring Break
OK, not really, but Norwegian Cruise Line is pulling its $49 all-inclusive alcohol package from its ships during Spring Break season, between March 1 and April 15. The package is normally available fleetwide.

Wastewater Rollback
No, we're not talking about sewage splashing around on Carnival Triumph. In Alaska, lawmakers officially relaxed legislation regarding cruise ship wastewater discharging. The law reverses a 2006 voter-mandated requirement that cruise ship wastewater meet state water quality standards at the point of discharge, rather than after being mixed with ocean water. Proponents of the law said this brings the requirements in line with requirements for land-side waste facilities. Cruise lines also lobbied for the law, claiming that without the regulation change they would be unable to get permits for their ships to sail in Alaska, Seatrade Insider reported.

Paving the Way for Titanic II
Titanic II inched closer to reality this week as the Chinese shipyard charged with building the replica ship began to upgrade its facilities to prepare for construction. According to China Daily, the state-owned shipyard says it will take three years to build the vessel, which is being financed by Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer. The facility upgrade is being undertaken without a formal contract yet signed. Plans for Titanic II, scheduled to launch in 2016, include nine decks and capacity for 2,400 passengers.

Tall Ship Polish
There's a fine line between classic looking and looking old. To keep its fleet of classic tall ships looking fresh, Star Clippers refurbished Royal Clipper and Star Flyer, replacing all soft furnishings, Cruise Business reported. Royal Clipper underwent a two-week dry dock in Trinidad in January, during which the dining room, guest cabins and corridors were updated. Star Flyer underwent its dry dock in late 2012.

Flat Fare, Please
Baltimore port officials have had enough with taxi drivers trying to rip off the cruise-going public. According to the Baltimore Sun, officials are asking the Maryland Public Utilities Commission to set a flat rate for taxi service to and from the cruise terminal and three city locations: Fort McHenry, Pennsylvania Station and the Inner Harbor. A decision is expected March 6.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor