Monday, February 27, 2012

Costa Allegra Drifting in Indian Ocean following Electrical Fire

More Woes for Costa...  Allegra adrift following fire!

Costa Allegra, photo by Yerpo, CC

The Costa Allegra is adrift in the Indian Ocean, with no power, save, apparently, emergency lighting.  There are approximately 1,000 passengers and crew on board, none of whom were injured during the electrical fire that resulted in the power outage.

Now, in case you haven't been following the pirate stories, the Indian Ocean is an area in which pirates do, indeed, operate.  Thankfully, there IS protection on board, in the person of armed Italian Marines, according to a story in The Guardian.   Still, I'm saying a prayer for the safety of all aboard the Allegra.

Updates are being posted on the Costa Cruises website.   According to the latest:

 - A 295 ft French fishing boat is expected to reach the Allegra within a few hours.
- Several other vessels, and two tugs are also steaming towards her position.
- The tugs will presumably tow the cruise ship to safe harbor in the Seychelles

Please hold the ship and all those aboard in your thoughts. 

Cruising to Mexico? Be careful!

Once again, cruise passengers have had a nasty experience in Mexico. 
According to news reports, 22 passengers from the Carnival Splendor were robbed at gunpoint while on an excursion in Puerto Vallarta.  

The story in the Los Angeles Times says "hooded gunmen"  intercepted a tour bus, taking money, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables from the cruisers.

Apparently, even passports were taken, which is particularly troubling.

Cruiselines have recently cancelled port calls in Mazatlan, another previously popular port on the so-called "Mexican Riviera" cruises.  Will  Puerto Villarta be next?

NOTE:  The U.S. State Department expanded its warnings for travel to Mexico earlier this month. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Invader in the Carribean Reef

Red Lionfish, CC
Do you swim or snorkel when you cruise?  If so, you should know about a beautiful, yet dangerous species that has invaded the waters off Florida, in The Bahamas, and the Caribbean Sea.  It's the Red Lionfish.

Actually, two of the nine species of lionfish are spreading through these waters, but the red lionfist - or  Pterois volitans -  seems to be reproducing the most prolifically.

PROBLEMS associated with this species include the fact that they are venomous to humans, and that they pose an imminent threat to indigenous marine populations.  

Browse some beautiful Pictures of Tropical Fish - including the lionfish - and pick up a few tidbits of information in this article I recently wrote about fish you can see while snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

St. Lucia Independence Day

On Wednesday of this week, they'll be celebrating Independence Day in the popular southern Caribbean cruise destination of St. Lucia.
St. Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations on February 22, 1979.
It's an uncommonly beautiful place, with a tropical climate, and more mountainous than some other Caribbean nations. Here's a picture of the famous twin peaks of the Pitons there:

MORE about St. Lucia:
To see more views of the island nation, visit Pictures of St. Lucia.
For something really cool, find out about St. Lucia's Drive In Volcano.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Valentine's Day Treat for Cruisers


Island Princess - one of the stars of
Love Boat
Especially for my cruising friends ... here's a nostalgic little treat for your Valentine's Day pleasure. 

It's a virtual visit back in time to TV's Love Boat.  Come with me and see what it was like aboard the Island Princess and Pacific Princess in their days as "The Love Boat," complete with pictures from a friend who honeymooned aboard during filming!  (Deck plans, too!)


(Yes, I know this is a little early, but I wanted you to have it
 in time for you to share it with your special someone)

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