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Disney Wonder offering special Pixar cruises this fall

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

A new cast of characters will stroll the decks and visit with guests aboard the Disney Wonder as Mr. Incredible, Remy, Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and other memorable characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ award-winning films make their shipboard debut during four special Pixar-inspired seven-night California Coastal cruises Sept. 16 through Oct. 14, 2012.

During these voyages, Disney Cruise Line guests will be able to interact with and explore the world of Pixar and their beloved films while the Disney Wonder sails to popular port cities along the coast of California. Special entertainment and offerings designed for both children and adults include:

Pixar Presentations and Sneak Peeks: Artists and filmmakers from Pixar Animation Studios will provide guests with an inside look at the creative process used in the development of an animated feature or short. Guests will go behind the scenes and explore the making of Pixar’s newest release “Brave” and get a look at footage of future Pixar films.

The Art of Pixar: Storyboards, character sketches, environment paintings, maquettes and other inspiring concept art used to design Pixar films will be on display in a special art exhibition at sea. This collection of art has only been seen outside of Pixar Animation Studios when it has been displayed at leading art museums around the world. This time the art will truly be a “traveling” exhibition as the Disney Wonder sails up and down the California coast.

Pixar Film Fest: Guests will be able to enjoy the entire Pixar library of films while onboard, including a selection of delightful animated shorts. Viewing opportunities will take place in the Buena Vista Theatre, Walt Disney Theatre, at the jumbo LED screen on deck or on in-stateroom televisions. The voyages coincide with the theatrical premiere of “Finding Nemo 3D,” which guests can enjoy at either of the two theatres equipped with state-of-the-art Dolby 3D projection systems.

Pixar Character Encounters: More than a dozen Pixar characters will meet with and greet guests throughout the cruise. There will be a special Pixar-themed dance parties in the Atrium Lobby and a host of other opportunities for guests to reconnect with their favorite Pixar pals. Guests sailing on the Pixar-themed voyages will also receive a commemorative lithograph created by Pixar artist and “Brave” co-director/screenwriter, Steve Purcell.

The Disney Wonder will sail out of Los Angeles and visit San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico during the four Pixar-themed voyages. Rates for the seven-night voyages start at $799 per person for a deluxe inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Stena Line is expanding on the Baltic Sea

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Stena Line acquires five ferry routes between Sweden and Germany to Latvia. The three routes, Travemünde to Ventspils and Liepaja as well as the route Nynäshamn-Ventspils have been acquired from Scandlines GmbH. Moreover, Stena Line has acquired Scandlines GmbH's vessels and operation on the routes between Trelleborg to Sassnitz and Rostock, which makes Stena Line the sole owner. The acquisitions are part of Stena Line's strategy of expansion into growth markets.

"Through the acquisition of the routes from Germany and Sweden to the Baltic States, we are increasing our presence in the southern Baltic and expanding our offering for both freight and passengers. Our ambition is to continue developing the new operations in order to give our customers better service and capacity," says Gunnar Blomdahl, CEO for Stena Line.

The background to the acquisition is the strong growth in sea transports to and from the Baltic region, which is expected to show continued growth. Three vessels in total, of which two are chartered, operate the routes to the Baltic States. 

"Through the new routes, we are supplementing our existing network and can offer transports to and from the Baltic States," says Gunnar Blomdahl.

Apart from the purchase of the three routes between Germany and the Baltic States, Stena Line is also acquiring the vessel Sassnitz and the operations on the routes from Trelleborg to Rostock and Sassnitz. These routes have previous been run jointly with Scandlines GmbH, via Stena Line's subsidiary Scandlines AB, under the Scandlines Hansa brand. Stena Line will now be the sole owner of the routes, which are currently operated by four ferries. The Trelleborg routes as well as the new routes to Latvia will operate under the Stena Line brand.

In total, the transaction concerns about 300 employees in Germany and the Baltic States. The staff that are employed with Scandlines in Germany, Lithuania, Denmark and Latvia and who work on the specified routes will be offered new positions with Stena Lines. 

The deal is on the assumption of approval from the German competition authorities.

CruiseBritain expects 17% rise in embarkations at British ports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The year 2012 will see increased numbers of cruises sailing from UK ports as the appeal of basing ships in Britain grows.  CruiseBritain reports that initial estimates of cruise embarkations for 2012 show a rise of 17% year-on-year.  In addition, Round Britain cruises focusing on calls to British and Irish ports will rise to over 100 departures for the first time and show a projected growth of 33% since 2011, the organisation said in a statement.

A total of 666 cruises are currently scheduled to depart from British shores carrying embarking holidaymakers as far afield as South America, the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean and America. Closer to home, the Round Britain sailings will take cruise passengers to a diverse selection of British and Irish ports including Tyne, Isles of Scilly, Kirkwall, Liverpool, Milford Haven and Jersey.

"There are 20 cruise lines scheduled to operate Round Britain cruises," commented Kate O'Hara, Chair of Cruise Britain. 'The increasing appeal of Britain as a cruise destination can be seen both in the rise in cruise numbers and also in the wide variety of cruise lines. Britain's ports will host some of the world's largest cruise ships from lines such as Royal Caribbean, mid-size vessels from Crystal and Saga, boutique cruise lines such as Silversea and expedition ships from Voyages of Discovery and Noble Caledonia. Britain is a unique destination that offers complete circumnavigation and a huge variety of attractions for passengers.'

The core season remains May -September but the more off-peak months are showing growth, particularly in the autumn and early winter months.  'The main departure ports continue to be Southampton and Dover' added O'Hara' but it is good to see the growth of the profile of ports such as Harwich, Tyne and Portsmouth. Passengers have more choice than ever before and this reflects the diversity of British attractions and the options that the country offers to cruise line.

Norwegian pilot strike hampers cruise itineraries

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A strike by drivers of pilot vessels in Norwaythat escalated this morning means that pilots are unable to board and disembarkvessels, which causes disruption to shipping itineraries, the Norwegian CoastalAdministration (Kystverket) said in a statement.

A total of 103 pilot boats have beenidled by the strike this morning, whichis part of a larger public sector paydispute. Already on 24 May, pilots on the Oslo fjord joined the strike action:they are employed by the municipally owned Port of Oslo.

Vessels that have a dispension from usingpilots operate normally. These include the ferry services of Color Line, StenaLine and DFDS from Oslo. However, cruise liners and most other ships have toembark pilots

IMO incorporates recommendations from cruise industry operational safety review in meeting outputs

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee incorporated a number of recommendations from the ongoing Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review in its meetings in London, being held May 16 to 25. The committee focused extensive attention on passenger ship safety and considered a number of recommendations developed by the Review, launched on behalf of the global cruise industry in January, along with other safety recommendations submitted by IMO member governments.

"CLIA commends the IMO, its Secretary-General, the Maritime Safety Committee and the 170 IMO member States around the world for their ongoing commitment to working with the industry to improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is the number one priority of CLIA members," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. "We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the IMO and a wide range of stakeholders to undertake further continuous consideration, development and implementation of measures to strengthen our industry’s safety culture."

At the meeting, the IMO put forth immediate actions to enhance passenger ship safety, with the Review the source of many of the items. The Review includes a comprehensive assessment of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety and the development of comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation.