Cruise news for the week of March 4-11

Photo: CC2.5 Generic

Lots of cruise news this past week, no?  Let’s dive right in!

Carnival Cruise Lines has decided to replace the fire-damaged Costa Allegra.  The cruises originally scheduled for the Allegra will be performed by the Costa Voyager, beginning March 18.  Carnival still doesn’t know what caused the fire on the damaged Allegra.

More news for Carnival – the Carnival Destiny will become the Carnival Sunshine after its scheduled makeover, slated to cost $155 million.  The work is scheduled to be completed in April 2013, followed by a series of Mediterranean cruises.  The ship will then travel to its permanent home port, New Orleans (or, at least as “permanent” as things get in the world of cruising).  The Carnival Conquest will be relocated to another port.

Gene Sloan at USA Today reports that American Cruise Lines’ new paddle wheeler, the Queen of the Mississippi, has reached a huge milestone in the installation of its enormous paddle wheel.  The 150- passenger liner, is under construction in Maryland, and is expected to debut on August 11 in New Orleans.

In an opinion piece for HuntingtonNews.Net, Rene A Henry, an expert in crisis communications, suggests that the U.S. Government should create a watchdog agency to oversee the cruise industry as it relates to US passengers.   He thinks the Department of Transportation should create a database of complaints and problems, and should be held much more strictly responsible for things like dumping waste not far from shore, missing persons issues (including passenger deaths) and the use of Coast Guard resources.  The cruise industry, of course, is in wild opposition to these proposed new rules.  Time will tell whether changes will be required or not.

Creating a Passive Income blog suggests one way to do that is to…..own a cruise ship?  Somehow it seems to me that the only passive thing about this idea is the part where you dream about it.  All the rest of it sounds like hard, unrelenting work.  I find this a bit far-fetched, but whatever.

And now to something really useful:  leaving today on Carnival’s Magic out of Galveston, Autism on the Seas launches its first Special Needs on Vacation group cruise.  From

AotS’ specially-trained, compassionate and caring staff work with children and families alike. Traveling with AotS gives families a sense of normalcy that many may have given up on. The company offers special needs families much needed daily respite, the opportunity to enjoy vacation venues, otherwise not thought possible, as well as valuable networking for families to learn what is happening in other parts of the country relative to their child’s condition.

And finally, from Rick Steves’ column in the Chicago Tribune, even when you’re driving to your cruise, it’s a great idea to pack light.  Why?  Packing light means you can bring all your luggage onboard with you, not having to wait on your luggage to be delivered (or, alternately, dropped off the forklift and into the ocean….).   If you do have to fly to your port, you won’t have to worry about the airlines losing your luggage – and hoping it will “catch up with you,” for which the odds are somewhere between none and zero.  Just pack what you are certain you will need, and buy the rest while on the cruise.  And finally, remember: the other cruisers really don’t care what you wear, as long as you roughly fit into the dress code for the day or evening.  They will have forgotten you long before the cruise is over, no matter what you wear.  As Rick says, “you’re not on a Vogue photo shoot.”

Great words to cruise by!

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