Queen Mary 2 in mid-Atlantic mercy mission

Queen Mary 2 in mid-Atlantic mercy mission

By Phil Davies

Queen Mary 2 in mid-Atlantic mercy missionCunard flagship Queen Mary 2 stopped in mid-Atlantic yesterday to provide assistance to a lone woman rowing across the ocean.

The ship, sailing from New York to Southampton, received a request to assist after Canadian solo rower Mylène Paquette lost her anchor and a satellite phone in a storm.

She received four watertight canisters containing the requested items including a new satellite phone after 83 days at sea and two months to go.

QM2 slowly circled the boat at 10 knots to calm the water before the provisions, including food, bottled water, tea and coffee, were dropped into the sea and collected by Paquette.

The ship also supplied a scraper to remove the barnacles underneath the rowing boat, duct tape, soap, shampoo and body lotion.

Captain Kevin Oprey, master of QM2, said: “We are happy to have given assistance to Mylène and help her recover from the damage inflicted by the storm. We wish her the very best of luck with her solo Atlantic rowing adventure.”

Paquette said: “This is a dream come true! For me to see the Queen Mary 2 in the middle of the Atlantic is something I would have never hoped for. I want to thank all of the members of the crew for making this encounter happen.”

She is aiming to become the first North American woman to row solo across the Atlantic, a total of 2,700 nautical miles, having set out from Halifax, Canada on July 6 for Lorient in France.

River cruise sustainability guide launched

River cruise sustainability guide launched

A guide offering best practices to river cruise operators on how to operate with as little environmental impact as possible has been developed by the Travel Foundation.

The ‘Environmental Sustainability for River Cruising’ is designed to support the river cruise tourism industry in working towards a sustainable future by identifying ways to reduce water and energy use, and waste generation on river cruise ships.

The best practices offered in the guide come from audits done on ships in Egypt, along the Nile, and in Europe, along the Danube, Rhine, and Rhône rivers.

Twelve Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection ships were audited. The recommendations made from the findings were used to form the basis of the guide, which provides training material for the river cruise industry at large in managing their own environmental performance.

The guidance will mark a breakthrough in reducing the environmental impact of river cruising tourism worldwide, charity the Travel Foundation claims.

Uniworld president Guy Young said: “With the growth of the river cruise sector, it is essential that we all do our part to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our waterways, which is why we are so proud to be part of such an important first-of-its-kind project in the river cruise sector.

“All river cruise companies should seek to better understand and adopt environmental performance measures in an effort to prevent serious environmental impact in the destinations where we travel and operate.

“To this end, we hope this Environmental Sustainability for River Cruising guide will provide them with best practice examples, tools, and sources of further information, as well as a self-assessment checklist in their own efforts of continuous improvements towards a more sustainable future.”

Salli Felton, acting chief executive of the Travel Foundation, added: “It’s important that the river cruising sector addresses the environmental impact of its day-to-day operation, so that it can grow sustainably.

“We’ve broken the guide down into small manageable chunks so that companies can take a step-by-step approach to minimising the negative effect they may be having on the environment.”

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises are sold through Titan Travel in the UK.

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debate

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debate

By Hollie-Rae Merrick

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debateCruise lines are working with Italian authorities to look at the option of moving the port in Venice to another part of the canal after concerns over the ships’ impact on the city.

Speaking at a Clia press conference earlier today, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said the industry was working with officials to find a solution and was looking at different canals to establish which would be the best alternative.

His comments came just days after protesters delayed a procession of cruise ships for over an hour by leaping into Venice’s Guidecca canal. The demonstrators believe the cruise ships are threatening the city’s foundations and want the port moved to an island away from the city.

Vago said the issue was “deeply emotional” for some Venetians, however the majority support the cruise lines calling at the destination.

He said there was no environmental impact on Venice by the vessels as cruise lines had already agreed to have a low sulphur admission on entering the city.

Vago said lines and authorities were looking at the ecosystems in the waters surrounding Venice to establish whether there was an alternative and appropriate route.

He added: “We (the cruise industry) are important to the city of Venice, everybody understands that.

“One shop out of six lives because of the cruise industry, 33% of the hotel industry lives because of the cruise industry. It is an emotional impact.”

Howard Frank, Carnival Corporation’s vice chairman and chief operating officer said he agreed that the issue was not a environmental one.

He said the industry needed to do a better job in getting the message out about how environmentally friendly cruise ships had become.