Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Fire
A fire broke out earlier this morning on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and was subsequently contained and extinguished.
Royal Caribbean has issued a statement that the fire occurred in a mechanical space and has been contained and extinguished. All systems are functioning.
11:30am UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has issued a statement regarding the fire on Freedom of the Seas:
On July 22, 2015, Freedom of the Seas experience a fire in a mechanical space as the ship was pulling into Falmouth, Jamaica.
The ship’s fire suppression system was immediately activated, which contained and extinguished the fire.
In an abundance of caution, the Captain mustered all guests at their assembly stations.
The ship is currently alongside in Falmouth and all systems are functioning.
Freedom of the Seas is currently on a seven-night sailing that departed Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday, July 19, and includes port calls to Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mexico.
11:42am UPDATE: Royal Caribbean reports Freedom of the Seas is docked in Falmouth, Jamaica as scheduled and all systems functioning.
Relaunched MSC loyalty program
MSC Cruises said it has relaunched its MSC Club loyalty program under a new name, MSC Voyagers Club, with a host of new benefits and features.
One unusual feature: MSC will grant guests who have never sailed with MSC but have privileges in loyalty programs at other cruise lines an equivalent status if they join MSC Voyagers Club.
The new programs has five tiers, with the first Welcome tier available to anyone who makes an MSC booking.
The other tiers (Classic, Silver, Gold and Black) will award benefits based on a points system that takes account of both voyage duration and MSC’s “experiences” service levels, denominated as Bella, Fantastica, Aurea, and MSC Yacht Club.
Points are also awarded for onboard spending and add-ons that are booked pre-cruise, such as shore excursions or spa treatments.
Members automatically get a 5% discount on future cruises, with an additional 15% if they book off a list of select cruises called Voyages Selection.
Silver, Gold and Black level members get a $50 onboard spending credit on Voyages Selection cruises.
The elite Black level requires accumulation of 10,000 points. With it, guests get priority boarding, priority disembarkation in ports where a tender boat is required, late stateroom checkout when the ship returns to port, an invitation to a private Black Card member party, complimentary spumante with chocolate-dipped fruit in the stateroom, increased onboard discounts, a free one-hour thermal area session in MSC Aurea Spa, and complimentary dining in a specialty restaurant.
Carnival’s new Fathom brand to sail to Cuba
Carnival Corp.’s new Fathom brand has already received permission from the U.S. government to mount cruises to Cuba and it plans to start next year.
Fathom’s Cuba cruises are scheduled to begin in May 2016, a month after the brand launches its inaugural social-impact travel experiences in the Dominican Republic.
Carnival said the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments have signed off on the cruises, which will qualify for exceptions in the law that prevents general travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.
“We are excited about receiving U.S. approval as the very important first step to ultimately take travelers to Cuba under the existing 12 criteria for authorized travel,” Carnival Corp.
CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Cuban authorities for their approval to help make the social, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between U.S. citizens and the people of Cuba a reality.”
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