MSC hails strength of UK market as first Seaside ship floated out

 MSC hails strength of UK market as first Seaside ship floated out

Click the image for a unique video of how she is looking at the float out.

MSC Cruises has celebrated the ‘float out’ of its newest ship MSC Seaside as UK sales show ‘strength’.

The first of the cruise line’s new Seaside-class ships transferred from dry to wet dock at the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard in Trieste, Italy, at the weekend.

Speaking at the event, UK managing director Antonio Paradiso said he was pleased with the strong response the operator was already seeing from the British market.

“This is another exciting milestone in our ambitious expansion plans as we see the second of our 11 next-generation ships entering the final stages of her construction.

“MSC Seaside has been specifically designed to provide our guests with a unique onboard experience in warmer regions.

“The UK market is very important and we are delighted with the strength of sales for MSC Seaside so far. The Caribbean continues to be an ever popular destination for UK holidaymakers.”

The ship, which will launch in December 2017, will homeport in Miami and complete year round sailing in the Caribbean.

At 323 metres long the ship will feature a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests on completion and is the first of two identical ships in the Seaside generation. Her sister ship MSC Seaview will enter service in spring 2018.

Port Everglades enables mobile customs declaration

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Passengers disembarking from cruise ships at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale will be able to use an app on their smartphones to fill out re-entry forms for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Airports, including those in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, already have this feature but Port Everglades will be the only U.S. cruise port to offer it, port director Steve Cernak said.

“An added bonus is that [the system] will be in service in time for the arrivals of Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas and Holland America Line’s Koningsdam,” Cernak said.

Port Everglades plans to go live with the service on Nov. 4.

The app is currently available for Apple phones and is expected to be available for Android phones later this month.

Developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America in partnership with the CBP, the app allows U.S. citizens with a passport debarking a cruise ship to complete their customs declaration using their smartphones or other mobile devices, expediting their clearance process in the terminal.

A physical passport or passport card is still required for re-entry.

The Fort Lauderdale port also recently completed pilot testing of the Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in two of its cruise terminals, another CBP initiative to streamline the traveler-screening process.

Carnival Corporation strikes deal to tighten security

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Carnival Corporation is to strengthen its security procedures through an agreement with international criminal police organisation Interpol.

The deal, claimed as a first for the maritime industry, will see advanced security screening across the group’s 10 brands and fleet of 101 ships that carry almost 11 million passengers a year to more than 700 ports around the world.

Carnival Corporation is to integrate its global passenger check-in process with Interpol’s I-Checkit system, a secure method for screening travel document information against its Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database, containing more than 69 million records from 175 countries.

The agreement follows a three-month trial of I-Checkit on four Princess Cruises ships which included 34,000 travel documents that were successfully checked against the SLTD database to demonstrate the system’s ability to enhance security for the global cruise industry.

I-Checkit will be deployed across Carnival Cruise Line, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line and P&O Cruises in the UK and Australia.

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Staff will be able to automatically query the SLTD database before and during the boarding process to see if any travel documents have been reported lost or stolen.

Interpol head of the I-Checkit system Micheal O’Connell said: “With its real-time secure global alert system, criminal intelligence potential and compliance framework, I-Checkit provides an invaluable preventative and investigative capability for global policing.

“I-Checkit’s initiative with Carnival Corporation offers an additional layer of safety in the travel sector by creating an international standard for security screening.”

Carnival Corporation chief maritime officer Bill Burke – a retired vice admiral of the US Navy – said: “One of our top priorities at Carnival Corporation is the safety and security of our guests, our crew and our ships.

“As the world’s largest cruise company carrying hundreds of thousands of daily passengers, having a highly effective and efficient security screening process is a crucial part of how we serve our guests every day.

Partnering with Interpol enables us to seamlessly enhance security across our global fleet while also maintaining our commitment to providing our guests with a great vacation experience.

“This is another important step for our company and industry as we continue taking proactive measures to enhance the safety and security of our passengers and crew members.”