January’s tragic Costa Concordia accident has once again reminded us that as human beings, we are all capable of making significant, sometimes stupid mistakes. Unfortunately, in this case, it appears that the cost of simple stupidity was, for a number of innocent people, their lives; for several thousand more, shock, fear and inconvenience; and for the entire cruise industry, a black eye.
Nevertheless, no vacation or any place in the world, including our hometown, is 100 percent safe. Travel in general is always going to involve a small amount of risk. Considering that it is much safer to fly anywhere in the world than it is to drive to and from the airport and that more people die from falls in their own bathtubs every year than perish from travel-related incidents, hiding at home in fear of what might or could happen makes no sense when compared with fulfilling incredible opportunities to experience the world’s great sights.
I hope that readers will never consider curtailing cruise or tour plans, despite isolated incidents such as the one that befell Costa Concordia. Unquestionably, the entire modern cruise industry has earned an excellent safety record that is still worthy of widespread respect.
Norwegian Cruise Line is promoting balcony and minisuite upgrades, as well as 50 percent reduced deposits on Alaska and Hawaii cruise vacations.
Star Clippers is taking reservations for its fall through spring 2013 Caribbean and Costa Rican sailings with advanced purchase discount savings of up to 30 percent off brochure rates, plus free air from select cities.
American Cruise Lines has announced a lineup of complimentary shore tours for its Alaskan itineraries, beginning this summer. Examples include a Stikine River jet boat tour at Petersburg, a Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends Excursion at Hoonah and a Mendenhall Glacier and city tour at Juneau.
Savings incentives for 2013 from Silversea Cruises include a greatly expanded list of “free air” gateways and onboard spending credits of up to $1,500 per suite.
And Seabourn Cruises has launched a Signature Savings Event featuring benefits and special amenities for guests who book early on voyages through 2013. The promotion includes savings of up to 50 percent, suite upgrades, additional savings on back-to-back cruise bookings, shipboard credits and complimentary pre- or post-cruise hotel stays.
New upscale products
Crystal Cruises is introducing A Year of New Developments for 2012. Each month, the luxury line is introducing new destinations, shoreside adventures and product enhancements offering additional choices in wining, dining, evening and daytime entertainment, enrichment and fitness.
Avalon Waterways is gearing up to unveil two more suite ships. In May, the river and small-ship cruise company will christen Avalon Vista and Avalon Visionary, joining Avalon Panorama to create a trio of new vessels boasting two full decks of panorama and royal suites, measuring 200 and 300 square feet, respectively.
Windstar Cruises is offering new Islands of Italy voyages featuring several of Europe’s most exclusive islands, including Ischia, Lipari, Port Cervo on Sardinia and Corsica’s Porto Vecchio.
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that it will reposition Carnival Miracle to the West Coast following a Panama Canal voyage and bring Carnival Splendor to New York after three 13- to 18-day South America cruises, all during the spring of 2013.
Carnival Miracle will operate the line’s Alaska and Hawaii cruises, now on Carnival Spirit, which will be heading to Australia to offer the line’s first cruises from that country. Carnival Miracle will also make seasonal, seven-day Mexican Riviera sailings that are now available on Carnival Splendor.
In turn, the newer Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Miracle’s year-round, eight-day Caribbean schedule from New York, representing a capacity increase of 41 percent.