The weekly "Five Things You Missed About Cruising" from Cruise Aficionados.  Catch the things you need to know about cruising and look like a genius online and around the office! 

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #2

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #2

Crystal Empire.
 
You can be forgiven if you might believe Crystal Cruises is seeking to take over the world around it.  Since being sold to it's current owner, Genting Hong Kong, which owns Star Cruises and until recently a majority of Norwegian Cruise Line, Crystal has been planning a comprehensive array of services and ships.  
 
 
The line has since the 2015 change in ownership, announced plans to add five more ships to it's operations.  Were that all there were to the news it would hardly rate as news worthy.  It is the types and history of the existing ships and the purpose of new vessels that is striking.  In 2015 it added the 62 passenger mega-yacht "Crystal esprit" to the existing fleet of small sized 1,000 passenger luxury cruise ships.   Among the new builds on-order an expedition ship intended for arctic cruising and three modern sized 117,000 GRT ships.  Outside of the deep water ships five river cruise ships are also being built.
 
 
Beyond the new and existing ships, Crystal stunned the industry and ocean travel aficionados by purchasing the historic SS United States, long rusting after decades of inactivity and dubious attempts at restoration.  Subject to a 9 month engineering survey said to be currently underway, Crystal may spend nearly one billion dollars on restoring the Unite States to new glory.
 
 
 
Yet the moves by Crystal and it's parent company have moved beyond simply running ships.  Genting purchased three entire ship yards with an eye toward ensuring a preferred supplier for it's ships. The cruise line has purchased a Boeing 777-200LR and 787-8 Dreamliner which will be converted for customized VIP service across the world.  These will join a Bombardier jet already in service.
 
As 2017 fades into 2018 the Crystal Cruises that began in 1988 as a Japanese company will have become part of a cruise empire for it's new owner in Hong Kong.

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #3

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #3

 
Massive Sand Castle
 
MSC Cruises signed a 100 year lease for the former site of sand extraction for use in beach reconstruction and such.  Rather than counter beach erosion or to make a million cats exceedingly happy, MSC is investing over two hundred million to convert the location into a state of the art private port for its ships.  
 
 
Formally called the "Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the facility is located sixty-five miles east of Miami and will boast a two thousand seat amphitheater, zip-line as well as the usual array of beach space and entertainment options.  MSC Yacht Club members will have access to an exclusive spa and private bungalows.  
 
MSC has also stated it will open a crew training school in Nassau to aid in building a local base of shipboard staff.  When ships do call on the new island the line has indicated it will continue to operate all normal ships services including the casino.  That is somewhat unusual given that normally in a port the stores and casino close.
 
 
"Ocean Cay" is planned to open in December 2017.

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #4

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #4

Carnival at Cozumel.
 
Carnival.....the holiday season not the cruise line.  It is best known for being associated with Rio, New Orleans, Samba schools and Mardi Gras parades before the start of lent, the island of Cozumel has been making an effort to build awareness of their own Carnival season.
 
 
Held for over 130 years, Cozumel is known to most cruise passengers as a port stop.  The community hopes the increased promotion online will lead greater tourism and possibly extended visits by cruise ships.  Several lines already offer longer stays in port at Cozumel but none active promote such stays during the carnival season.

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