Oasis of the Seas makes Top 10 cruise ship list

By: Matt Hochberg

Cruise1st, a cruise booking specialist, has compiled a list of what it believes are the top ten cruise ships and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas has made the list.

  1. Celebrity Century
  2. Pacific Jewel
  3. MS Panorama
  4. Queen Mary 2
  5. MSC Fantasia
  6. Oasis of the Seas
  7. Celebrity Solstice
  8. Ruby Princess
  9. MV Orion
  10. MV True North

The world's largest cruise ship ever, costing over $1 billion, is divided into seven different neighborhoods. Onboard activities include a zip-line, carousel, rock-climbing walls, a 750-seat AquaTheatre amphitheatre hosting water ballet and dinner shows with the option of 25 different restaurants.

Royal Caribbean offers new Asian itineraries in 2011

By: Matt Hochberg

The 2010/2011 schedule for Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas has been announced and will feature a year-round deployment in Asia.  

Legend of the Seas will have over 60 sailings including seven new itineraries, including an exciting new additions such as Bali, Semarang and Lombok in Indonesia, Osaka, Aomori and Beppu in Japan and Dalian in China.  In addition, Legend of the Seas will feature more overnight stays at popular ports-of-call, that will allow travellers to see more of the region.


Legend of the Seas will return to Singapore starting on November 22, 2010 and will offer 3, 4 and 5 night southeast Asian sailings to ports like Malaysia’s Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi as well as Thailand’s Phuket.  Sailings to Singapore will include the popular holidays of Christmas, New Years and Chinese New Year.

In addition there will be new itineraries by Royal Caribbean from Singapore in 2011 such as

  • 2 Night Weekend Cruise in January to Malacca, Malaysia, ideal for a short getaway
  • 8 Night Indonesia Cruise in February to Bali for an overnight, Semarang and Lombok, for an in-depth exploration of Indonesia
  • 7 Night Bali & Semarang Cruise in February to Semarang and Bali for an overnight

Shanghai and Tianjin

Legend of the Seas will move to Shanghai and Tianjin from March to October 2011 and offer cruises to South Korea and Japan that feature almost 10 distinct itineraries such as

  • 5 Night Asian Legacies Cruise from Shanghai to Fukuoka, Japan; Busan and Jeju Island, South Korea
  • 7 Night Pearls of the Orient Cruise from Shanghai to Osaka (overnight) and Fukuoka, Japan; Busan, South Korea
  • 7 Night Kyushu Explorer Cruise from Shanghai to Kagoshima, Beppu and Fukuoka, Japan; Busan, South Korea
  • 7 Night Japan & Korea Cruise from Tianjin to Nagasaki and Fukuoka, Japan; Jeju Island and Seoul, South Korea


Back by popular demand, Legend of the Seas will sail from Yokohama in April and May 2011 as well as in September 2011, with itineraries such as

  • 8 Night Korea & China Cruise in April calling at Osaka, Japan; Shanghai, China (overnight); Jeju Island and Busan, South Korea
  • 9 Night Russia & Hokkaido Cruise in May and September, one way from Yokohama to Shanghai visiting Aomori and Otaru, Japan; Vladivostok, Russia; Busan and Jeju Island, South Korea, ideal for travelers who are extending their stay in Shanghai
  • 7 Night Shanghai to Yokohama Cruise in April and 7 Night Tianjin to Yokohama Cruise in September, which are one-way sailings visiting destinations such as Dalian, China; Seoul, South Korea; Beppu and Nagoya, Japan.

Hong Kong

Rounding out Legend of the Seas schedule will be a Hong Kong sailing season in October to November 2011 that will feature destinations such as Vietnam and Taiwan

  • 5 Night Gems of Asia Cruise to Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taipei, Taiwan
  • 5 Night Indo China Explorer Cruise to Sanya, China; Hue/Danang and Halong Bay, Vietnam

Hurricane Earl affecting Royal Caribbean ships

By: Matt Hochberg

Hurricane Earl is starting to affect some Royal Caribbean ships due to weather in the regions that have scheduled port of call stops.

Enchantment of the Seas is skipping St. Thomas today and instead will stop in Samana, Dominican Republic.  Then on Tuesday, Enchanted of the Seas will stop at Labadee, Haiti. followed by sea days on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before she returns to Baltimore on Saturday as scheduled.

Oasis of the Seas had a schedule that called for stops in St. Thomas and St Maarten in the Eastern Caribbean but will instead change to a Western Caribbean itinerary and stop in Costa Maya on Wednesday and Cozumel on Thursday.

Investors with ties to Royal Caribbean aquire land in Placencia area

By: Matt Hochberg

According to Channel 5 in Belize, investors with ties to Royal Caribbean have acquired land in the Placencia area "for the establishment of a cruise tourism village".

No further news on this development, but the clear consensus among residents of Placencia Village are against it.  

Proposal for Falmouth to eliminate cars on cruise days

By: Matt Hochberg

The Trelawny Parish Council is in favor of the Jamaican state-run Urban Development Corporation (UDC's) proposal to pedestrianise Falmouth's town center area on days when cruise ships would dock there.  In the proposal, the entire business-centric Water Square will be isolated from vehicular traffic on days when cruise ships making calls at the soon to be developed Falmouth pier.

The Falmouth business community are largely against the idea, citing that the proposal would impact negatively on their businesses.

"It will kill the commerce of the town...all the stores in the centre of the town including Courts (furniture store), the pharmacies, the Trelwany Co-operative Credit Union, NCB (National Commercial Bank) the lawyer office, myself, supermarkets as well as all the stores along Seaboard Street will be affected," said Richard Shirley, a gas station operator, whose businessplace is located on the periphery of the small town centre in a recent interview with the Observer West.

Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager disagrees with the businesses, claiming that "It will not affect them because Market Street would still be opened to vehicular traffic so motorists could still have access to Mr Shirley's gas station, for instance".  Gager added that it would be necessary to pedestrianise the town on ship days because of the expected large number of cruise ship visitors.

Starting in November, cruise ships will start making calls at the Falmouth pier, which is being developed at a cost of $7.5 billion by the Port Authority of Jamaica in collaboration with the Royal Caribbean.

Go on a cruise and lose weight?

By: Matt Hochberg

CNN posted an interesting article asking the question if one can lose weight while on a cruise. After all, the stereotypical view of cruises is that they are a floating smorgasbord.  According to Royal Caribbean, most guests consume way more food at the beginning of their cruise than by the end of it.  Frank Weber, the vice president of food and beverage operations for Royal Caribbean says statistics show that in the first few days of a cruise, more food is consumed by guests but after that, passengers slow down.  

To help passengers avoid packing on the pounds, Royal Caribbean offers health-conscious options known as "Vitality"

"[The Vitality option is] a three-course meal that has 800 calories or less," said Royal Caribbean's Weber, who added that the calorie count has been added to the menu. "At the buffet, the healthier options are marked with the Vitality logo. On the Oasis, our newest ship, we also created an entire buffet restaurant that is dedicated to healthy food."

In addition, Weber added that he fully expects future cruise ships to have restaurants dedicated to eating healthy while older vessels might have one restaurant that is retrofitted for healthier food.

So why the change in eating healthier?  Weber attributes a change in popular culture, thanks in part to TV starts like Jillian Michaels and celebrity chefs who help make healthful eating more popular.

"It's not so much about going on a specific diet," he said. "The guests still want to enjoy food, but they are aware of the impact, so it becomes about balance. So some days, they might enjoy themselves, and the next day, they will eat a salad for lunch."

EPA proposes new sewage dumping rules for cruise lines

By: Matt Hochberg

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new rule that forbids cruise lines from dumping sewage off the coast of California.  The proposal covers nearly all of California's shoreline and applies to passenger ships larger than 300 tons and to all other oceangoing vessels larger than 300 tons that have sufficient sewage holding tank capacity.

A statement by the EPA claims the ban would stop 20 million gallons of sewage from entering California coastal waters.

A spokesperson for the Cruise Lines International Association, which represent the world's major cruise lines including Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, tells USA TODAY its members as a policy never release sewage within three miles of coastal waters. Moreover, says the association's Lanie Fagan, a California state law already bans the practice.

The current laws of international maritime law do allow for the discharge of untreated sewage by ships at least 12 miles from a shoreline.

This new rule will allow for 60 days of comment before going for a vote.

Royal Caribbean makes progress on ship impact

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean released its 2009 Stewardship Report yesterday and in it, quite a bit of information regarding the cruise line's environmentally conscious initiatives were outlined in it. Chief among them was Royal Caribbean cut fuel consumption by 3.7 percent in 2009 thanks to better designed ships, smarter sailing practices and energy efficiency measures that include installing solar window film in every ship in the fleet.

In 2009, roughly 4 million passengers traveled on a Royal Caribbean ship to 400 destinations and according to the report, 

The reduction of 3.7 percent less fuel per available passenger cruise day (APCD) beat a year-over-year reduction goal of 2 percent and consuming about 30,000 metric tons less in fuel than planned. Royal Caribbean compared this reduction in pollution to taking 13,000 mid-sized sedans off the road for a year.  Royal Caribbean boasted that since 2007, it has reduced fuel consumption by 7 percent per available passenger cruise day.

Royal Caribbean's immediate goal is to reduce fuel consumption per APCD by at least 2.5 percent each year and plans to set higher targets as new technologies develop.

Chairman and CEO Richard Fain commented in the report, "In our daily operations, we face two primary energy challenges: How to efficiently utilize clean, secure and affordable energy, and how to minimize our impact on the environment related to our air emissions and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint."