Delivery of Oceania’s new ship delayed three weeks

Delivery of Oceania’s new ship delayed three weeks

By Donna Tunney
Oceania Cruises pushed back the launch of the Riviera to May 16, due to delays at the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa, where the 1,250-passenger ship is under construction. The inaugural cruise had been scheduled for April 24.

Oceania said that affected guests would be contacted through their travel agent, or directly if they didn’t book through an agent, to discuss alternative cruise dates. The line is protecting agency commissions on the missed sailings.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience that this may cause our guests,” stated Kunal Kamlani, president of Oceania. “We are working very closely with the shipyard to ensure Riviera is completed to meet Oceania’s high standards of quality and service.”

According to Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono, labor strikes at the shipyard are responsible for the delay.

“All of us at Fincantieri are committed to producing a superior quality ship, and we will deliver a truly magnificent vessel to Oceania Cruises without further delays.”

The new maiden voyage is a 10-day cruise that includes an overnight aboard ship in Venice before visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; the Greek islands of Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Delos and Mykonos; Athens and Monemvasia, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey.

Guests booked on canceled sailings will have the option of rebooking another cruise and receiving a future cruise credit, which ranges from $250 to $1,000 per guest depending on category of accommodation. In the event guests do not wish to rebook, they will receive a full refund.

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Medical emergency delays Royal Caribbean cruise

Medical emergency delays Royal Caribbean cruise

By Donna Tunney
Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas will arrive a day late to Cape Liberty, its homeport in Bayonne, N.J., on Jan. 28 due to a medical emergency onboard the 1,185-passenger ship.

According to the cruise line, an ill passenger required urgent medical treatment in a hospital, so the ship altered course to its closest port of call, San Juan.

The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated the sick passenger Jan. 25, and the ship is now headed back to New Jersey.

The delayed arrival will impact the itinerary of the cruise departing Jan. 28. The ship will spend Jan. 29 and 30 at sea, and a planned call at Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private destination on Haiti, has been canceled.

Costa clarifies compensation policy for Concordia passengers

Costa clarifies compensation policy for Concordia passengers

By Donna Tunney
Costa Cruises clarified its compensation policy for passengers who were aboard the crippled Costa Concordia, which hit a rocky reef and capsized off the Italian coast Jan. 13.

The line said it would refund the full cost of the cruise, either directly or through the passengers’ travel agencies.

It also will reimburse all travel expenses incurred both reaching the port of embarkation and on the homeward journey, including any independent arrangements made for transfers.

Additionally, onboard expenses will be refunded, any credit card charges will be credited to the account and any cash deposits will be refunded, Costa said.

Costa also will reimburse any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

It said that “every effort will be made to return the valuables left in the cabin safe,” and that information on the return of personal belongings and other forms of compensation will be communicated.

The embattled cruise line came under fire in recent days after a media outlet in the U.K. mistakenly reported that Concordia passengers, who evacuated the vessel in what’s been described as a chaotic and unorganized way, were being offered only a refund and 30% off a future Costa cruise. Other media have picked up the erroneous report.

“The 30% future cruise discount, in addition to a full refund, is intended for guests [who were] scheduled to sail on Costa Concordia from Jan. 14 onward,” the line stated.