Normally this would be just a regular cruise ship in a regularly scheduled port, but not this time. The swine flu, H1N1, or whatever they are calling it now, scared shipowners into dropping all port-of-calls in Mexico. This led to some unique itineraries ships were sailing on in order to comply with the PVSA. The vessels on the west coast could no longer sail south and had to sail north. The Carnival Splendor was one of those ships. She included a stop in Astoria, Oregon as part of the new Itinerary. Astoria was never really a big player in terms of seasonal cruise traffic, mostly relying on the occasional repositioning cruise. Good article here. Also found a georgous shot of the Splendor in Astoria:

splendorastoria

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With all the recent publicity of new ships, think Norwegian Epic and Oasis of the Seas, the Carnival Dream, Carnival Corp’s answer to the previous two, seems left out. Well not to leave her behind, here are recent shipyard photos. She is now being outfitted at a wetdock at Fincanteri Cantieri Navali SpA, in Monfalcone, Italy.

Carnival WaterWorks (water park) 11 deck-high Atrium
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A Lounge A Lounge
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Seaside Theatre (Lido Pool TV) The New Whaletail funnel
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In some recent Dream news, Carnival announced that the Dream will feature an upgraded entertainment program. Carnival released info about the entertainment onboard and discussed the usual large scale productions, comedians, solo singers, etc etc, but there was one thing that caught my mind: Fun Force. This is billed as a “high-energy acrobatic team.” Accordingly they will perform in different areas all throughout the ship. Other interesting numbers include break-dancing, Chinese acrobatic pole routines and a  trampoline part.

 

NorwJade-luggage[1]

Well not so funny for those involved. A few weeks ago, the Norwegian Jade was embarking passengers for a short cruise from Rotterdam. As they were taking the luggage from the pier to the marshalling yard on the ship, the bags fell off of the container they were on and right into the water. Remember that a ship does not touch the pier in all places. Only some of the bags could be rescued.

…is currently underway in NYC. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 4:31: Today’s event is focused around the entertainment offered onboard.

UPDATE 5:06: So far revealed is a big casino with bars above it and the atrium dining below it. A jazz club, comedy club as well. Hinted at (so just a rumor at this point) Cirque du Sole and also rumored Blue Man Group!!

UPDATE 5:16: So now its confirmed, Blue Man Group will be onboard the Epic!!!! Also these:

1

UPDATE 6:22: Apparently, the Blue Man Group made NCL’s CEO Kevin Sheehan part of the act.

UPDATE 6:28: Blue Man Group took over NCL’s Epic site!

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UPDATE 6:28: Cirque Dreams info here.


Bridge Section

The Norwegian Epic’s Bridge arrives at the building dock. Cruise Ships are built in large sections; like Legos.

Bridge Section


Bridge in the Air

In order to lift these big pieces, the yards lift them with big A-frame cranes.

Bridge in the Air


Bridge Meets Epic

The bridge is now lowered into place.

Bridge Meets Epic


Bridge Fitted on to Ship

After setting the section down, the piece is welded in place.

Bridge Fitted on to Ship


Propeller

The brass propeller arrives at the yard.

Propeller


Port Propeller on Lift

Due to the tapered nature of the hull, they cannot use cranes. Instead they use lifts, to position the propeller into place at the end of the shaft.

Port Propeller on Lift


Starboard Propeller Getting fitted

After the port(left) propeller is bolted into place, they do the same for the starboard(right). It is to be noted that the Norwegian Epic will utilize the old fashioned shaft-and-prop propulsion, instead of the new diesel-electric ‘podded’ propulsion. Podded propulsion has proven to be troublesome on the reliability front.

Starboard Propeller Getting fitted
photos from: Mer et Marine

This just in, after years and years of being in the red, NCL announced they have a first quarter profit of $5 Million. This profit could be a sign of things to come under the leadership of Kevin Sheehan. Sheehan took over for Colin Vietch who made some questionable decisions during his run.

In late June, Carnival will resume the previous itineraries with the scheduled stops in Mexico. A complete list of exact dates can be found here. All announced altered cruises, the ones avoiding Mexico, will still avoid Mexico. This decision comes after the CDC today, lessened the travel advisory to Mexico. RCI should announce the resumption of Mexican port-of-calls soon. Stay tuned.

Breaking: A female crewmember has contracted the H1N1 Virus (swineflu). This from the UK paper the Daily Mail:

The female cruise employee on Serenade of the Seas tested positive for the H1N1 virus when examined by doctors in Washington State last week and has been kept in isolation since, say Alaska state health officials

This would probably explain why RCI’s shares are down right now.

Update 2:17 pm: There was one other case but it is said that he has recovered since. There are no cases reported in passengers as of yet.

These were released today.

 

Central Park
Oasis (9)

Oasis (6)

Board Walk
Oasis (15)

Oasis (12)

Aquatheater
Oasis (10)

Jogging Track
Oasis (13)

Studio B Ice Rink
Oasis (16)
FloriderOasis (4)

  Oasis (2)    Oasis (3)

Today NCL announced the Norwegian Epics hull art. Take a look at the gallery below.


Click the pictures to view larger. Then click it again to view even larger.