In Port Today: Silver Whisper docked at sunset in Bridgetown, Barbados

Silversea’s Silver Whisper docked at sunset in Bridgetown, Barbados, Friday, March 4, 2011.

The 382-guest, ultra-luxurious vessel is in the midst of a seven-night Caribbean voyage. She calls on Castries, St. Lucia; Gustavia, St. Bart’s; St. John’s, Antigua; Marigot Bay, St. Martin; Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship beginning next week.

Photo by Michael Coleman

Port of Los Angeles upgrades for cruisers

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

The Port of Los Angeles in historic San Pedro, Calif. is completing several major upgrades and adding two new ships to entice more cruise passengers to its waterfront terminal.

The cruise terminal has recently been upgraded with state-of-the-art gangways, video screens, audio upgrades, passenger comfort areas, scenic photography and artwork. There are plans for costumed characters to entertain the children waiting to board their ships and “the port of Los Angeles is completely ADA accessible,” said Director of Media Relations Phillip Sanfield.

San Pedro’s new pedestrian-friendly, waterfront parkway includes The Fanfare Fountain of Gateway Plaza. This Bellagio-inspired fountain is the largest water feature in California and features spectacular water shows synchronized to music and lights. The fountains pump 400,000 gallons of recycled water through 58 jets.

Visitors can can stroll along a two-tiered, palm tree-lined path, enjoy local artwork, or just sit and watch sea lions swimming by the massive cruise and cargo ships. An incredible 42 percent of all goods imported to the USA pass through this port.

A restored trolley car runs along the waterfront allowing easy access to attractions such as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and Ports O’Call Village with its’ eclectic collection of shops and restaurants.

“This is really an amazing two block experience with open-air bus tours, museums galore, everything,” said Jayme Wilson, owner of Ports of Call Restaurant and Spirit Cruises.

Already the busiest cruise port on the West Coast, the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro is currently the embarkation point for Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, Silversea, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Seabourn.

In January 2011, the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro will become home port for the Disney Cruise Line ship, Disney Wonder, which could generate more than 250,000 guests passing through the Port of Los Angeles over a five-year period and in Fall 2011, the port will become home port for the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit. The Spirit’s new schedule will include five-day and nine-day Mexican Riviera cruises as well as a 15-day voyage from Los Angeles to Hawaii in December 2011.

Article by Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong of FloridaCruiseAndTravelersMagazine.com

Video: A look at what’s new on Disney’s private Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, has received a number of enhancements this year. They’ve added more water-based family-fun and additional conveniences such as another dining location in anticipation of the larger Disney Dream launching next year.

Here’s a video outlining all the enhancements.

Princess eyes Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific

The 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess is but one of several Princess Cruises’ ships headed to Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific voyages in 2011 and 2012. Image courtesy Princess Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Princess Cruises has just unveiled a series of 2011-2012 itineraries to Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific.

Sun, sand, swaying palm trees, the scent of topical flowers in the air and breathtaking island scenery set the stage as the line offers 43 sailings of 10 itineraries to 33 ports. Voyages run from September 2011 through May 2012.

Cruise passengers will find that each of these island destinations has its own charms. In Hawaii they’ll enjoy the spirit of Aloha throughout the island chain, while Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia showcase a unique mix of South Seas appeal and French culture.

Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu each offer their own style and island allure, and all feature the stunning vistas found throughout the South Pacific.
 
Travelers interested in the convenience of a roundtrip voyage from Los Angeles can choose to sail aboard Golden Princess or Sapphire Princess to the Hawaiian Islands or on a new 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific cruise aboard Sapphire Princess.

Cruisers to Tahiti will enjoy the small ship ambiance of Ocean Princess on several itineraries, and Princess’ Aussie-style sailings from Down Under feature Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess sailing roundtrip from Sydney or Brisbane.
 
The Hawaiian Islands each have their own personality. On Oahu, the state capital of Honolulu offers a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions, including famous Waikiki Beach, America’s only royal residence the Iolani Palace, and Pearl Harbor. The Big Island, the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands, has the most varied in landscape — with striking black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, and the famed Volcanoes National Park, home to three volcanoes, including the actively erupting Kilauea.
 
Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai offers lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls and geological wonders, such as the dramatic Nã Pali Coastline, and spectacular Waimea Canyon. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui boasts some of the world’s most superb beaches and dramatic mountain landscapes. Visitors can also explore the port town of Lahaina which was once King Kamehameha’s capital. 
 
Made up of more than 130 islands, French Polynesia includes some of the most dreamed about South Seas islands, such as Tahiti and Bora Bora. This is the South Pacific of Melville, Gauguin and Michener. Particularly immortalized by Gauguin’s paintings, Tahiti evokes exotic island images and the South Seas state of mind. Nearby Moorea boast precipitous mountains that reach for the sky, creating picture postcard views. And, no name captures the imagination of paradise as well as Bora Bora.  Perhaps the most stunning island in the South Pacific, its majestic landscape was sculpted by ancient volcanoes, showcasing a shimmering lagoon and barrier reef. Passengers on Ocean Princess’ 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia itinerary will enjoy a two-day experience in Bora Bora with extra time to enjoy the island’s charms.
 
The two islands of Huahine are surrounded by a deep lagoon encircled by a coral necklace. Connected by a bridge, both islands boast white-sand beaches, vanilla and banana plantations, and some of Polynesia’s most significant cultural sites. The largest atoll in French Polynesia, divers from all over the world flock to Rangiroa, to explore the undersea world of its 42-mile aquamarine lagoon filled with unique marine life and magnificent underwater scenery.
 
Samoa and American Samoa lie at the heart of the South Pacific. Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa, the southernmost territory of the United States. Here abundant rain creates a lush green landscape marked by ancient volcanoes and thriving coral atolls.  Apia, the main township of Samoa, personifies the fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way), and conjures up images of the perfect South Seas island town.
 
On the web — www.princess.com

In Port Today: Five ships in Nassau, Bahamas

Five ships are lined up in Nassau, Bahamas today, March 12, 2010. From left are the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, Carnival Destiny, Disney Wonder, Carnival Sensation and MSC Poesia.

Port Postcard: Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

dec 2, 2009 (1)

One of the world’s most beautiful quarter-mile, white-sand beaches, Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, played host today to guests aboard Holland America’s Eurodam. The beach break was one of 22 shore excursions offered by the ship in St. John and neighboring St. Thomas. Guests aboard the vessel have a day at sea tomorrow en route to Holland America’s private Bahamian island — Half Moon Cay — Friday. The ship is in the midst of a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
Photo by Michael Coleman

World’s largest cruise terminal opens at Port Everglades, ready for Oasis of the Seas

From left to right: John Foglesong, Broward County Director of Public Works, Department Seaport Engineering & Construction Division; Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Sr. Vice President of Land Operations Craig Milan; Hollywood, FL City Mayor Peter Bober; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain; Royal Caribbean International President Adam Goldstein; Port Everglades Director Phillip C. Allen; Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter; Royal Caribbean International Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro; Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger; and Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler.
From left to right: John Foglesong, Broward County Director of Public Works, Department Seaport Engineering & Construction Division; Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Sr. Vice President of Land Operations Craig Milan; Hollywood, FL City Mayor Peter Bober; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain; Royal Caribbean International President Adam Goldstein; Port Everglades Director Phillip C. Allen; Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter; Royal Caribbean International Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro; Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger; and Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler.

The largest cruise terminal in the world to serve the two largest and most revolutionary cruise ships in the world officially opened at Port Everglades yesterday (Nov. 6, 2009), one week prior to the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas.

Local county and city officials, as well as Royal Caribbean executives, were on hand for the opening celebration. The event also featured Royal Caribbean dancers, who performed a number from the Hairspray musical.

“We finished building Cruise Terminal 18 on time and under budget, which is a demonstration of government at its best,” said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen. Port Everglades, located within the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Dania Beach, Fla., is governed by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. “There may be bigger terminals that service two ships at the same time, but Terminal 18 was constructed specifically to handle one Oasis-class ship at a time.”

At 240,000 square feet (5.5 acres), Cruise Terminal 18 is more than three times larger than it was just 22 months prior to opening when Royal Caribbean Cruises reached an agreement with Broward County to homeport both of the new Oasis-class of ships at Port Everglades.

“We are very appreciative of the efforts of Director Phil Allen and his team at Port Everglades to create a state-of-the-art facility that will provide a seamless experience for our guests,” said President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International Adam Goldstein. “Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will present an unprecedented vacation to guests and Terminal 18 is an integral part of delivering that offering.”

To accommodate these revolutionary cruise ships, the Port invested approximately $75 million to build Cruise Terminal 18. The terminal’s mega-size will accommodate the more than 5,400 cruise guests and their luggage so that both arriving and departing guests can go through processing procedures simultaneously. Each Oasis-class ship is projected to generate approximately 584,000 passenger movements annually at Port Everglades. The first of the 225,282-gross-registered-ton ships, Oasis of the Seas, is scheduled to begin sailing year-round from Port Everglades in December 2009, with the second sister-ship, Allure of the Seas, to begin year-round sailings one year later.