P&O Cruises issues Brexit reassurance

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P&O Cruises has issued a series of promises to its passengers in a bid to ease any fears over Brexit.

As uncertainty mounts over the UK leaving the EU, the line reminded passengers they will avoid foreign currency fluctuations due to onboard spending being in pound sterling.

P&O Cruises also reminded passengers that all cruises with the line will be protected by Atol and Abta.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “We want to reassure our guests that whatever is happening in the world of politics, their holiday and peace of mind is of the utmost important to us.

“Our Brexit promise is that no matter what the future brings, our guests can rest assured when booking a P&O Cruises holiday as they will always pay in pounds sterling in advance and can take advantage of a low deposit to secure their holiday.

He added: “Also, a P&O Cruises holiday offers unbeatable value as so much is included as standard including meals, entertainment, children’s clubs, flights and taxes.

“With sailings directly from Southampton and by choosing shore excursions in advance, our guests can explore Europe without the need for euros.

“In addition, the currency on the ships is pounds which covers all shopping, dining, drinks, indulgent treatments in the spa and a range of shops with favourite British jewellery, clothing and cosmetic brands. We also have the protection of both Atol and Abta.

“With over 180 years of P&O history and expertise, we guarantee to manage any potential impact on holiday plans and help our customers sail through Brexit and onto their next cruise.”

Royal Caribbean to Retrofit 19 Ships with Scrubbers

Royal Caribbean to Retrofit 19 Ships with Scrubbers

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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will retrofit 19 of its ships with advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems. These systems, also known as scrubbers, will remove more than 97% of the sulfur dioxide emissions generated by the ships’ diesel engines.

The company says the move will position RCL ahead of all forthcoming International Maritime Organization Emission Control Area emissions standards, and will ensure compliance with existing European Union standards. Additionally, the decision to install AEP systems instead of switching to a fuel with a lower sulfur content will ensure that RCL’s ships can be compliant everywhere they sail, as availability of lower-sulfur fuels is limited.

“AEP technology for maritime vessels is very new, and we expect that by utilizing multiple technological solutions to accommodate the differences among our ships, additional development will ultimately help industrialize AEP technology even more, which will benefit not only RCL but also the larger maritime industry,” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The company faced significant challenges in order to accommodate the AEP systems on its existing ships – some pieces of which can be as large as a school bus, an entire system having an operational weight of several hundred tons of equipment and liquids.

“A retrofit project of this size and complexity – and the scale and intricacy of the research, planning, and design required – is unprecedented for our company, and has required a very systematic process and involved the world’s leading expertise in this field,” said Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President, Maritime, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

RCL contracted two different AEP technology suppliers, Swedish company Alfa Laval and Finnish company Wartsila. Additional companies are being hired to execute the installations.

Beginning in January 2015, installation will take place on 13 Royal Caribbean International ships and six Celebrity Cruises ships, during scheduled dry-dockings and while ships are in service. While preliminary work has begun on several of the ships receiving AEP systems, most will take place between 2015 and 2017. Each installation will take approximately eight months.

Card transactions banned in the Vatican

Card transactions banned in the Vatican

By Gay Nagle Myers

Vatican St Peters SquareTourists headed to the Vatican’s museums and shops now need cash for tickets and souvenirs. Credit and debit cards no longer are accepted.

The Bank of Italy decided to block electronic payments, effective Jan. 1, due to concerns that the tiny city-state has not fully complied with stringent European Union safeguards against money laundering. This means that Italian banks no longer are authorized to operate within the Vatican.

All ATM machines are being removed, and cash is needed at the ticket booths for admission to the Vatican’s museums and guided tours. Souvenir shops will accept euros, dollars but no cards.

The ability to buy tours online using credit or debit cards will end on Jan. 15.