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Abandoned family hit with huge fine by cruise line

<p>A family of nine has been charged a whopping $13,000 for failing to return to their cruise ship after an excursion in Alaska, leaving them stranded by Norwegian Cruise Lines to find their own way home. </p> <p>The Gault family, from Tulsa in Oklahoma, were travelling with six young kids and a 78-year-old grandmother when they disembarked from the Norwegian Encore in Katchikan, a small town in a string of south Alaskan islands, so they could watch a lumberjack show together.</p> <p>All was going well until they went to board a bus back to the ship, when the local tour operator transporting passengers to and from the vessel miscounted and told the family there was no room and that they had to wait for the next bus. </p> <p>“We see the chaos getting onto the buses. We go to get on the bus and one of the attendees is like, ‘The bus is full, and you know you got to wait for the next bus,’” Joshua Gault told <em>2 News</em>.</p> <p>However, the next bus never came, and as the family found other means to rush back to the port, they arrived to see the ship sailing away with all their belongings, including passports and medications, onboard.</p> <p>“Six kids on board, minor children, and a 78-year-old mother-in-law, all on medication. We all had to quit cold turkey medication these last few days because it was all on the cruise ship,” Mr Gault said.</p> <p>From there, things only got worse for the Gault family, who had already spent about $44,500 on the trip, as they were immediately hit an almost $13,000 charge from the cruise line — $1,400 per passenger — for missing the boat.</p> <p>That fee stemmed from the US Customs and Border Protection’s Passenger Vessel Services Act, which they violated by not visiting a foreign port before they returned to the US, as their itinerary planned.</p> <p>Unable to rejoin the ship in Canada, the family decided to cut their losses and head home, arranging new accommodation and flights, making their costs continue to pile up. </p> <p>After days of travel - which included stops in numerous cities, cancelled flights, and more than one overnight airport stay — the family finally arrived home, feeling strung out, tired, and having picked up Covid along the way.</p> <p>“So yeah, we’re beat down right now. We’re unhealthy and beaten down,” Mr Gault said.</p> <p>The family is still working with the cruise line to rectify the situation, as Cailyn Gault said Norwegian Cruises keeps telling them, "We’re still looking into it, we haven’t forgotten about you."</p> <p>“And I was like, ‘No, we feel like you pretty much forgot about us when you left us in port and told us to go figure it out,’” Ms Gault added.</p> <p>Norwegian Cruise Lines told The Post it has begun the process of refunding the Gaults the nearly $13,000 in fees they were charged, and will reimburse them for all their travel expenses once receipts have been received.</p> <p>The cruise line also said it tried to contact the Gaults after they missed their bus due to “a misstep by a local tour operator,” and when they were unable to reach them, worked with the local port authority to help the family arrange lodging for the night before they were able to make a flight to Seattle the next day.</p> <p>“In addition, these guests will be receiving a pro-rated refund for the two cruise days they missed,” a Norwegian Cruise Line representative said.</p> <p>“As a gesture of goodwill, the company will also be providing each of the nine guests with a Future Cruise Credit in the form of a 20 per cent discount of their cruise fare that can be used towards their next voyage,” Norwegian added.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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The world’s longest cruises

<p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for your next cruising adventure, there are a multitude of time frames you can pick from for your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many cruise-goers tend to opt for just a week or two at sea, there are other voyages that can see you spend months travelling the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are ten of the longest cruise journeys that are available for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Queen Anne - 107 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2025, new Cunard ship Queen Anne will embark on her maiden World Voyage which includes her first visit to Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 107-day journey starts with a transatlantic crossing before sailing to destinations in the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Arabian Gulf and finally the Mediterranean.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crown Princess - 113 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Crown Princess is set to embark on an epic around the world cruise next year, and you can get on in Australia or New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">From there, the voyage will visit 49 destinations in 28 countries over 113 days, crossing the equator twice, and sailing 33,500 nautical miles.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MSC Magnifica - 119 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">MSC's World Cruise 2026 lasts 119 days, with options to book the entire round-the-world itinerary for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The trip starts in Italy, and takes in the Mediterranean before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America, before it then sails to California before crossing the Pacific for Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seabourn Sojourn - 129 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seabourn's 2026 World Cruise sets sail on January 6th 2026 from LA, before taking in Hawaii, South Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and Asia before heading Alaska and concluding in Vancouver, Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr">That's a total of 63 ports in 14 countries with seven overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Volendam - 133 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Holland America’s lengthy journey, titled Pole to Pole, takes a round trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida it visits spots as diverse as Costa Rica, Antarctica, Morocco, France and Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crystal Serenity - 135 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Crystal's 2026 World Cruise is an epic 135-day journey travelling to 72 destinations throughout 27 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Departing Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will traverse the waters of the Pacific taking in the Marquesas Islands, Bora Bora, New Zealand and Sydney, as well as travelling to Hong Kong, Mumbai and Dubai.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seven Seas Splendour - 140 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Guests onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises will visit 40 countries over six continents, spending 140 nights onboard the luxurious ship. </p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits locations such as Panama, Sri Lanka and Spain, visiting 71 ports around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Silver Dawn - 149 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Silversea Cruises' Silver Dawn will explore 80 destinations, covering 35 countries on five continents, including 11 overnight stays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Viking Sky - 163 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The cruise ship Viking Sky will sail for an impressive 163 days on its World Voyage II, taking in 34 countries, with 79 guided tours. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ports of note include Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Darwin Australia, Colombo Sri Lanka, Cape Town, South Africa and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Oceana Vista - 197 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The 2026 World Odyssey voyage of Vista will circumnavigate the world, visiting over 100 ports across 43 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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10 ways to cruise as a senior

<p>Just because you’re older, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience all that a cruising holiday has to offer. Follow our simple tips for a fun filled holiday on the water.</p> <p><strong>1. Choose the right ship</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships today carry anywhere from six to 6,000 people. The larger megaliners tend to be geared towards families with plenty of crazy rides and high-energy activities. They’ll also probably be crowded with kids. Smaller boutique ships operate at a slower pace and are generally stocked with an older crowd. Do your research and find one to suit you.</p> <p><strong>2. And the right cabin</strong></p> <p>Do you need an accessible cabin? Do you want to reduce walking with a cabin close to the elevators? Is it important for you to have some outside space of your own? These are all important questions that you’ll need to answer when you book. The right cabin can make or break a cruise.</p> <p><strong>3. Pick an appropriate itinerary</strong></p> <p>You’ll need to decide if you want to visit new places every day or spend more time onboard the ship. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Port heavy itineraries, where you’re stopping at a new destination every day, can be tiring. On the other hand, you might get bored with too many days at sea.  Think realistically about your needs and make the right choice for you.</p> <p><strong>4. Research your dates</strong></p> <p>One of the best things about being a senior traveller is that you are (generally) no longer bound by things like school holidays. By avoiding these times you’ll not only save money, you won’t be on a ship with an unusually high proportion of children. When cruising in the Caribbean, you’ll also need to keep in mind the US college holidays so you’re not trapped with a bunch of boozy spring breakers.</p> <p><strong>5. Allow extra time</strong></p> <p>It’s a sad fact of ageing that you’re not as quick on your feet as you used to be. That means you’ll need to factor in extra time for just about everything. Ships can be huge, so you don’t want to be rushing to make a dinner reservation or spa appointment. This applies on shore too. If you’re really late, the ship will leave without you so don’t cut it too fine.</p> <p><strong>6. Choose the right shore excursions</strong></p> <p>Before you book, have a chat with the shore excursions team and get a good idea of the physical requirements. What they consider minimal walking might not be the same as what you consider minimal walking. These tours aren’t cheap, so you want to be sure that you can enjoy everything it involves.</p> <p><strong>7. Look at onboard activities</strong></p> <p>You might not want to get off at every port (which can be exhausting) but still want to be entertained onboard. And adventurous activities like skydiving simulators and giant waterslides may not be your thing any more. Many cruise lines offer fantastic enrichment programs onboard where you can listen to world-class lecturers, learn new skills or watch performances from the likes of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or the Lincoln Centre.</p> <p><strong>8. Give yourself time to relax</strong></p> <p>You’re on holiday! If you want to spend a day in bed, watching movies and ordering room service then do exactly that. Don’t feel any pressure to be up and about every day.</p> <p><strong>9. Travel with the right companions</strong></p> <p>Solo, couple, friends or family, there’s a cruise for every group. Cruising is hugely popular with multi-generational groups as there something for everyone to do, but it might not make for the most relaxing holiday. If you’re a solo traveller, you can book a single cabin all to yourself or find a room mate with any number of matching services. Just think carefully – because once you’re onboard with your travel buddy, there’s no getting off.</p> <p><strong>10. Think about medical care</strong></p> <p>Be realistic about any medical needs you may have. Most ships have a decent medical centre, but if you are spending multiple days at sea or cruising to very remote destinations and something happens it might not be enough to help you. If you are concerned, choose cruises that stay close to shore or visit developed countries where you can get proper treatment quickly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Cruising

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End of the line for P&O: why is Australia such a tough market for the cruise ship industry?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Miami-based cruise operator Carnival Corporation has <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">announced</a> it will retire its P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand in March 2025.</p> <p>The decision marks the end of the line for an iconic cruise brand in Australia and the Pacific, after <a href="https://www.pocruises.com.au/about/history">nearly a century</a> of operations.</p> <p>Parent company Carnival has been on a campaign of international growth through acquisitions and mergers since at least 1989. P&amp;O Cruises Australia was bought by the company in 2003.</p> <p>Many Australians might remember the brand’s iconic television advertisements from the 1980s and ‘90s that encouraged them to escape the rat race.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/curt8yAwPpY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">P&amp;O’s memorable advertisements from the 1980s and 1990s encouraged Australians to escape the rat race.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>But the reality of cruising’s international consolidation leaves little room for such nostalgia and national brand attachment.</p> <p>Still, cruising is a big part of Australia’s tourism sector, and cruises are a large source of inbound visitors. The Australian Cruise Association estimates the industry’s <a href="https://www.australiancruiseassociation.com/sites/default/files/documents/2023-10/CLIA_ACA_CruiseEIA_Infographic.pdf">total economic contribution</a> is as high as A$5.63 billion.</p> <p>Australians are hungry for cruise ship experiences. They make up the <a href="https://www.cruising.org.au/Tenant/C0000003/2020%20Awards%20Sponsors/2023%20Australia%20Source%20Market%20Infographic_Final%20V3.pdf">fourth largest</a> source market for passengers, at 1.25 million last year.</p> <h2>Australia is a tough place to make a profit</h2> <p>A <a href="https://cruising.org/en/news-and-research/press-room/2024/april/state-of-the-cruise-industry-report">recent report</a> by Cruise Lines International Association painted a picture of a thriving industry. New, bigger ships are being rolled out to meet a growing market of both new and loyal cruise enthusiasts.</p> <p>So why are operators struggling here? P&amp;O hasn’t been the only brand facing difficulties down under.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>P&amp;O’s sister line Cunard recently announced it will <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/iconic-cruise-line-will-stop-homeporting-in-australia/114867">stop basing itself</a> in Australia from 2026, and Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady has <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/travel-news/branson-s-virgin-voyages-scraps-next-summer-s-australian-cruises-20240227-p5f83q.html">cancelled plans</a> for a second sailing season here next summer.</p> <p>Carnival <a href="https://www.carnivalaustralia.com/media-releases/2024/june/media-release.aspx">said</a> its decision on P&amp;O Australia came down to the region’s “significantly higher operating and regulatory costs” and small population. The company said it had been forced to change its operating approach to achieve “efficiencies”.</p> <p>The cruise sector was hit hard by the pandemic. In early 2020, Carnival reported a staggering single quarter net loss of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4N2DV2XV/">US$4.4 billion</a>. The company also suffered reputational damage following a <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-67215595">high-profile COVID outbreak</a> on its Ruby Princess cruise ship.</p> <p>The international cruise market is heavily concentrated. Almost <a href="https://cruisemarketwatch.com/market-share/">80%</a> of the passenger market is shared by three big companies: Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian cruise lines.</p> <p>Australia’s high operating costs and relatively small market make it tough for big cruise companies to achieve the profitability they expect. Carnival’s Cunard Line attributed its decision to <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8440670/carnival-cruise-lines-shun-victoria-over-fee-hike/">move out</a> of Melbourne to a 15% hike in port fees.</p> <p>As these companies have sought to strengthen their competitive advantage, acquiring smaller players has been a popular strategy.</p> <p>This mass tourism model can deliver relatively cheap holidays for passengers. But it often also sacrifices well-loved smaller cruise operations that are more connected to local histories and cultures.</p> <p>There is also the tyranny of distance for Australia, and increasing geopolitical risks affecting cruising.</p> <p>The Australasian region faces stiff competition as a cruise destination from alternatives such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, which are close to large markets. Virgin Voyages said its cancellation of the 2024–25 sailing schedule was due to major safety concerns in the Red Sea.</p> <h2>What does its future hold?</h2> <p>Reassuringly, customers with P&amp;O bookings for the remainder of 2024 will not be affected. Next year, the brand’s Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will continue to sail, but under new branding for Carnival Cruise Line. Pacific Explorer will be retired from service.</p> <p>In Australia, the mass tourism model of the big cruise operators is no doubt here to stay. But there could be further cuts to the range of destination ports offered as the industry prioritises profits.</p> <p>In the longer term, however, a crucial question concerns the future of ports around Australia that have been enticed into engaging with the cruise industry. Many government tourism authorities have been keen to expand the sector.</p> <p>As a result, access to some smaller ports has been negotiated and there has been a push to build new facilities in New South Wales, the biggest market.</p> <p>This has received <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/government-acts-to-protect-yarra-bay-from-cruise-ship-terminal">pushback</a> from some parts of the community who argue the economic benefits don’t outweigh the cultural and ecological cost.</p> <p>In the future, there could be a more sustainable solution for Australian cruising in smaller expedition-like formats. These have been particularly successful in locations such as the Kimberley in Western Australia.</p> <p>Local communities at small-ship destinations may find this model of cruising more acceptable, given its lower passenger numbers and smaller environmental impact.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-higgins-desbiolles-181651">Freya Higgins-Desbiolles</a>, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management/ Adjunct Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/end-of-the-line-for-pando-why-is-australia-such-a-tough-market-for-the-cruise-ship-industry-231607">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Cruising

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More holidays sunk as P&O announce further cancellations

<p>Just days after P&O announced it would be <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/major-australian-cruise-line-shuts-down" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ceasing operations</a> from early 2025, travellers have been left frustrated after more voyages have been cancelled. </p> <p>After 90 years at sea, P&O Australia is set to be integrated into sister ocean travel outfit Carnival Cruise Line in March 2025, impacting travel plans for many. </p> <p>P&O’s ship Pacific Explorer will be retired under the move, prompting mass cruise cancellations for travellers scheduled to set sail after March 2nd.</p> <p>Now, the company has announced further cancellations on two other vessels in its fleet.</p> <p>Four Pacific Adventure itineraries have been cancelled, including V515, V516, V517, V518, while another four Pacific Encounter itineraries have also been scrapped, including I512, I513, I514.</p> <p>The impacted cruises were scheduled to depart from Sydney and Brisbane in March 2025, but both vessels will be out of action for two weeks while they are rebranded by Carnival and undergo a technology upgrade, a Carnival spokesperson told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/pacific-adventure-and-pacific-encounter-cancellations-follow-news-po-cruises-brand-is-being-retired-c-14919420" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a>.</p> <p>Staff will be contacting impacted travellers in the coming days with information on refunds and offers of extra onboard spending.</p> <p> </p> <p>“We apologise that this change has been necessary,” the company said.</p> <p>“If you are booked on any other P&O Cruises Australia itinerary your cruise is unaffected by this announcement and we look forward to welcoming you on board soon."</p> <p>“No Carnival Cruise Line itineraries are impacted by this announcement.”</p> <p>The Pacific Explorer will be removed from P&O’s fleet at the end of February, with its final journey being an 11-night cruise to Singapore that leaves Fremantle on February 7th 2025. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Major Australian cruise line shuts down

<p>After almost a century of voyages, one of Australia's most trusted cruise lines is shutting down. </p> <p>In a shock statement on Tuesday, P&amp;O Australia announced it will cease to exist from early 2025, with the family-friendly cruising company wrapping up operations. </p> <p>The cruise liner’s parent company Carnival Cruises announced the shocking news in a statement, which read, “In March 2025, the company will sunset the P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which has served the South Pacific since 2013 and is today the world’s most popular cruise line."</p> <p>“When the transition is complete next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will begin sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line brand while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet at that time.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise said those who are booked on a currently available itinerary with P&amp;O Cruises Australia will “operate business as usual” and guests will be “notified in the coming days” of any changes to future bookings as a result of the announcement.</p> <p>Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation, said the increasing operating costs and the South Pacific’s “small population” had weighed in on the decision to close up shop. </p> <p>“P&amp;O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region,” Mr Weinstein said.</p> <p>“However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific’s small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we’re adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region.”</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/po-cruise-australia-to-shut-down-after-almost-a-century-of-voyages/news-story/9c7f34641337edf06a764849241a35b0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>, P&amp;O Cruises Australia will continue setting sail as planned until March next year before Carnival Cruises absorbs P&amp;O customers and redistributes keen travellers on different Carnival ships. </p> <p>Ahead of the announcement, president of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy warned there would be major job losses as a result of the decision. </p> <p>“This is not an easy decision for the company to shut down or sunset the P&amp;O Australia brand,” she told <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>.</p> <p>“We will continue to maintain an office here in Sydney. We don’t want to get into the numbers of people this impacts.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Another man dies after fall from world's biggest cruise ship

<p>A passenger has died after he fell from the world's largest cruise ship on the first night of a week-long voyage. </p> <p>The unidentified man allegedly jumped from Royal Caribbean’s new 366 metre-long Icon of the Seas, just hours after it left a port in Miami, Florida on its way to Honduras, according to the US Coast Guard.</p> <p>“The cruise ship deployed one of their rescue boats, located the man and brought him back aboard,” the Coast Guard told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/28/us-news/passenger-dead-after-jumping-off-worlds-largest-cruise-ship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>.</p> <p>“He was pronounced deceased. Beyond assisting in the search, the US Coast Guard did not have much involvement in this incident,” the agency added.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean told the publication, “The ship’s crew immediately notified the US Coast Guard and launched a search and rescue operation”. </p> <p>“Our care team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time.”</p> <p>At the time of the incident, the cruise ship had only travelled 500km from Florida, and stopped for two hours to help the search and rescue Coast Guard team to locate the passenger. </p> <p>The man was brought back on-board in critical condition before he succumbed to his injuries and died on the ship. </p> <p>The Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, took its maiden voyage in January this year.</p> <p>The Royal Caribbean ship has 20 decks and is nearly the size of four city blocks, holding 7,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Royal Caribbean </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How one widow has changed how women solo travel

<p>After Yvonne Vickers' husband passed away in 2014, she thought her opportunities to travel and see the world had slipped away. </p> <p>Yvonne had always been a keen traveller and went on trips with her married friends after becoming a widow, but she "got over being the third wheel", she admitted to <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/cruising-solo-female-older-passengers/9553953c-84e8-418a-9c2b-8c9b847b9ba4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9Travel</em></a>. </p> <p>Still wanting to see the world on her own terms, Yvonne took to Facebook where she created a group seeking like-minded women who share her passion for adventure. </p> <p>Now, the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy is an ever-growing group that has connected thousands of women looking for travel companions. </p> <p>Whether they're single, widowed, or just married to someone who doesn't want to travel, the group is open to women across the globe to join.</p> <p>Thanks to her newfound community, Yvonne has taken 41 cruises and dozens of land trips since her husband's death, all while making friends for life, and the rest of the group's members are in the same boat.</p> <p>"It's wonderful to get feedback from ladies saying that it's helped to change their life," Yvonne said. "That's the rewarding part of it for me."</p> <p>Members can make a post in the group, detailing a cruise sailing or trip that they have their eye on booking, to see if anyone else would like to join them.</p> <p>"We have a lot of widows in our group who are cashed up and want to travel but don't have anyone to travel with or share their experiences with," Yvonne said. "The group gives them the opportunity to be able to do that."</p> <p>"There are also a lot of ladies who are married but their husbands don't want to travel. It gives them the opportunity to be able to travel."</p> <p>Yvonne says that cruising is a perfect way for older females to travel, especially if they're on their own.</p> <p>"It's a really safe way to travel as a solo female," she says, also noting that it's an easy way to get around and see places. Recently, she did a 35-day trip around Hawaii with a group of women from the group.</p> <p>For the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy group, there's even more fun trips on the horizon.</p> <p>Yvonne just came back from a trip to Japan with 14 group members, and is heading to Bali in August with a friend she made through the group.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News \ Facebook</em></p>

Cruising

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Shane Dixon's heartbreaking posts before cruise plunge

<p>Shane Dixon sadly <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/sad-reason-why-sydney-dad-went-overboard" target="_blank" rel="noopener">plunged to his death</a> on May 6 on board a P&O cruise ship, after racking up a $9000 casino debt that he couldn't afford to pay. </p> <p>His family said that the debt, on top of series of personal tragedies and setbacks, including health issues, family deaths, and the breakdown of his marriage which led to him being estranged from his three children, was the last straw for Shane. </p> <p>"[After he lost the money] his brain would have been going 100 miles an hour. He probably thought, 'F*** it, I can't afford it,'" his brother Scott Dixon told <em>Daily Mail Australia</em>. </p> <p>Shane was the eldest of five children to parents Susan and Wilbur, and grew up in Campbelltown, Sydney's western suburbs.</p> <p>His youngest brother, Dylan who was a twin, tragically died at just three months old in 1993, leaving a mark on the family. </p> <p>In 2009, Shane lost his father at the age of 54, and the loss had a huge effect on Shane who described him as the "strength of the family" and "life of all parties".</p> <p>Adding to the pain, Shane was also experiencing heart problems and his brother Scott was diagnosed with a terminal illness, which he is still fighting. </p> <p>On top of that Shane was also struggling with the breakdown of his marriage, and now old Facebook posts about his struggles have re-emerged. </p> <p>"F***ing sucks.. Now over 12 years [and I have] not seen or herd [sic] from my kids," he wrote in September.</p> <p>"Not knowing how they [are] doing or if they [are] going through hard times just sucks."</p> <p>On December 31, 2022 he wrote: "The only happy [thing about] New Years is that hopefully 1 year will be happy for me when I meet my kids again."</p> <p>"12 years to not see or hear from you.. Breaks me every year but I stay strong, hoping one new year my dreams will come true," he wrote with a picture of his three young children. </p> <p>Sadly, he never got to fix his broken relationship with his children.</p> <p>In another eerie post obtained by <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13424493/Shane-Dixon-P-O-cruise-debt-suicide-eerie-post.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>, last year the truck driver described how May was his "hardest month".  </p> <p>"My hardest month May is just around the corner," he wrote on April 2023. </p> <p>"[It's] not only my birthday, but my eldest girl turns 18 that I have not seen or heard from in over 12 years. My boy turns 15 and [it's] the same situation as my girl. [It's] my dad's birthday also who passed away in 2009 [at] only 54 years of age.</p> <p>"So yes, to me life is f***ed. [So] don't judge me or let's just swap shoes."</p> <p>His eldest daughter turned 19 this year, just three days after his death, and Shane would've been 46 in just one week. </p> <p>Several others have since spoken out on the enticing gambling tactics, and Shane's friend that he made on board the cruise even <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/it-seems-crazy-shane-dixon-s-gambling-friend-breaks-his-silence" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recalled</a> how "full of energy and happy" Shane was just hours before his death. </p> <p>Earlier this week, a P&O spokeswoman told<em> Daily Mail Australia</em> that  it would be inappropriate to comment on Shane's death as the matter is under investigation from the coroner. </p> <p>In response to the other allegations and calls for a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/these-are-people-s-lives-calls-for-gambling-reform-after-fatal-cruise-ship-plunge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">gambling reform</a>, she said: "P&O Cruises Australia appreciates the feedback from guests."</p> <p>"We have Responsible Gaming Conduct Policies on all P&O ships and take those policies seriously."</p> <p>"We encourage any guest with concerns to get in contact with us so that we can investigate."</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

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"It seems crazy": Shane Dixon's gambling friend breaks his silence

<p>The man who befriended Shane Dixon on a P&amp;O Cruise before he plunged overboard has broken his silence, saying he too fell victim to seductive gambling tactics.</p> <p>The man, James, and his friends met Shane on the first day of the Elvis themed cruise and casually socialised throughout the entire trip. </p> <p>James, his friends, and Shane all spent time together in the onboard casino, where James was shocked by the blatant practices used by the cruise line to lure gamblers to the table.</p> <p>"We all got given free cruises to use in the next six months from the casino director and I myself racked up almost $2,000 gambling which was charged to my credit card, something I would never normally do in a million years," James told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13415149/p-o-cruises-gambling-shane-dixon-suicide-pacific-adventure.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"He [Shane] was a great guy and it’s so wrong how the casinos push so hard to get you to gamble more.'"</p> <p>When onboard a P&amp;O cruise, customers use their room key, or "cruise card", as a form of currency to pay for various items onboard the ships. </p> <p>Passengers can either pay "cash" by topping their cruise card up with set cash amounts using machines located around the vessel or by "card" by linking it to a credit or debit card.</p> <p>James said the same payment methods extend to the casino, as every time a passenger plays a game in the casino they need to scan their cruise card, regardless of which type of payment arrangement they have set up.</p> <p>When funds are depleted, players have the option to select "charge room" to add more money and the bill will be charged to the card associated with your room at the end of every day.</p> <p>James said paying with this method makes it difficult to track how much you have spent, particularly as there is no internet on board to monitor transactions through online banking.</p> <p>When James, luckily, won back most of his debt and chose to walk away from the table before any more damage occurred, he asked the cashier if he could enter a self-exclusion arrangement to bar him as he didn't trust himself to not spend the cash.</p> <p>However, James said the cashier told him self-exclusion was not an option.</p> <p>"They should have been able to [disable my room key] just like they do with minors, but the cashier said they don’t know how or if it’s even possible," he said.</p> <p>"It seems crazy!"</p> <p>According to P&amp;O's website, self-exclusion is one of the initiatives punters can access under the company's "commitment to the responsible delivery of gaming on our ships".</p> <p>The last time James saw Shane was while they were all dancing together in a bar at midnight on Monday. While he left to go to a club, Shane went back to the casino and just four hours later, the father-of-three was dead. </p> <p>"We were all drinking heavily but he was full of energy and happy," James said, recalling their last encounter.</p> <p>"He had been saying how he had lost heaps at the casino but we didn't know his situation so didn’t know how much of a big deal it was. He didn’t seem overly upset about it at the time. He seemed fine."</p> <p>Shane had racked up over $4,000 in gambling debt, and went overboard while the ship was making its way into Sydney Harbour. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

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“These are people’s lives”: Calls for gambling reform after fatal cruise ship plunge

<p>The shocking death of a 50-year-old father who went overboard on a P&O Cruise has caused widespread outrage, with many questioning who is to blame for his untimely passing. </p> <p>Shane Dixon had racked up $5,000 of gambling debt while onboard the Elvis-themed voyage, which his mother, who was also travelling with him, helped him to repay. </p> <p>The next day, Dixon went back to the cruise ship's casino where he racked up another $4,000 in debt, before he plunged to his death while the vessel was on its way into Sydney Harbour. </p> <p>While questions have arisen about the circumstances surrounding his death, the CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Carol Bennett said the cruise ship operator had failed to provide Shane with an adequate duty of care, and encouraged him to keep gambling. </p> <p>"It's really concerning that when a ship sails 12 nautical miles off the coast it can then allow anything and everything to happen," she told <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13414919/Anti-gambling-Shane-Dixon-cruise-ship-casino.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail Australia</a></em>.  </p> <p>"The rules that might apply on land no longer seem to apply and yet you would expect this cruise line would have some kind of duty of care to ensure that people are not plied with inducements, promotions and advertisements that are pushing them to gamble to extremely harmful levels."</p> <p>"It is just beyond belief that there is not an expectation that when a cruise ship leaves a dock that the rules of that jurisdiction apply."</p> <p>"But clearly that's not the case and we leave it all in the hands of the cruise line operator who may or may not apply the responsible service of gambling."</p> <p>Ms Bennett said it was "fundamental" that gamblers were able to set spend limits, self-exclude themselves and be in an environment free of inducements: all of which are required by law when it comes to casinos on Australian soil. </p> <p>"This is just basic harm reduction that any provider or organisation that is providing gambling services should be complying with," she said. </p> <p>"And if they're not, we need to really seriously think about what governments need to do to address this problem because you do wonder how widespread this is. This could be just the tip of the iceberg."</p> <p>Ms Bennett said Australia loses an estimated $25billion on legal forms of gambling each year, with the consequences spreading far beyond the impact on the economy. </p> <p>"It leads to everything from domestic and family violence to health and mental health issues, anxiety, depression, financial distress, right through to suicide," she said. </p> <p>"It is a huge and to some degree hidden problem in Australia, which is why we need stronger enforcement of safeguards and guardrails around gambling that don't see people led into a situation where they see no other way out but suicide."</p> <p>"These are peoples lives. For every person who gambles, there are six people around them who are going to be directly impacted."</p> <p>Labor backbencher Graham Perrett said the British cruise line most likely operated under the UK's gambling laws.</p> <p>"My understanding is that the UK gambling laws are not dissimilar to ours in terms of marketing and advertising," he said. </p> <p>"It's not just a gambling free-for-all, even if they are outside our territorial seas they still have to follow the laws of the UK."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

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Sad reason why Sydney dad went overboard

<p>A father-of-three who <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/sad-end-in-search-for-overboard-cruise-passenger" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fell overboard</a> a P&O cruise ship last week has been identified, and his brother claimed that he had racked up a $4,000 casino debt onboard after being lured to spend big by the company's incentives. </p> <p>Shane Dixon, 50, died after falling overboard the cruise ship two hours before was due to dock in Sydney Harbour at 6am on Monday, May 6. </p> <p>Shane was reportedly on the three-day Elvis-themed cruise to Queensland's Moreton Island with his mother Sue Dixon, 66, who had saved up for the trip. </p> <p>"Our mother is devastated. Broken," Shane's brother Scott Dixon told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13410955/Dad-three-plunges-death-luxury-cruise-liner-running-eye-watering-debt-ships-casino-tables-insider-reveals-high-rollers-lured-gamble-Australias-shores.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>. </p> <p>“She has already buried one son and now she has to bury another one,” he said. </p> <p>Scott said that his brother was going through a rough time, as he struggled financially due to a series of tragedies including the breakdown of his marriage, and the deaths of their brother and father. </p> <p>Shane had spent $5000 at the cruise’s casino on the Friday, and Scott claimed that his brother received free drinks,  a $750 play voucher and a ticket for a future cruise. </p> <p>In Australia, strict laws govern how gaming providers can advertise gambling, with promotions like the above, which may encourage someone to spend more than they intend banned. </p> <p>However, cruise ships that operate casinos in international waters can bypass these laws, reported the <em>Daily Mail.</em> </p> <p>After borrowing money from his family to repay the debt, Shane ended up spending another $4000 the following night, according to Scott. </p> <p>"His brain was probably going 100 miles an hour. He probably thought, ‘s***, I’ve done it again. I can’t afford it and I can’t ask mum for more money," Scott said. </p> <p>He added that P&O staff have been amazing and compassionate towards his mother. </p> <p>A P&O Australia spokesperson said they won’t be commenting on the claims due to the coroner’s investigation that is underway.</p> <p><em>Images: ABC News/ news.com.au</em></p> <p> </p>

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Rough seas or smooth sailing? The cruise industry is booming despite environmental concerns

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-dimanche-836528">Frédéric Dimanche</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier University</a></em></p> <p>Cruise ship season is officially underway in British Columbia. The season kicked off with the arrival of Norwegian Bliss on April 3 — the <a href="https://www.cheknews.ca/first-cruise-ship-of-the-season-to-arrive-in-victoria-in-less-than-2-weeks-1196426/">first of 318 ships</a> that are scheduled to dock in Victoria this year. Victoria saw a record 970,000 passengers arrive in 2023, with more expected in 2024.</p> <p>The cruise industry <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100391">was badly hit</a> by the <a href="https://financialpost.com/financial-times/the-2020s-were-meant-to-be-a-boom-decade-for-cruises-then-covid-19-hit-them-like-a-tidal-wave">suspension of cruise operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic</a> in 2020. Fuelled by heavy consumer demand and industry innovation, cruising has made a comeback. It is now one of the fastest-growing sectors, rebounding even faster than international tourism.</p> <p>While many predicted <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/05/carnivals-struggle-to-survive-the-coronavirus-as-outbreak-wipes-out-the-cruise-industry.html">a difficult recovery</a>, a <a href="https://cruising.org/en">recent industry report shows a remarkable post-pandemic rebound</a>. Two million more people went on cruises in 2023 versus 2019, with demand predicted to top 35 million in 2024.</p> <p>But environmental issues plague the sector’s revival. Are they an indication of rough seas ahead? Or will a responsive industry mean smooth sailing?</p> <p>Cruising has long been criticized <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/their-purpose-is-to-be-fun-but-theres-a-dark-side-to-cruising-the-seas/dzxivdoos">for being Janus-faced</a>: on the surface, cruises are convenient, exciting holidays with reputed economic benefits. But lurking underneath are its <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.11.002">negative environmental and social impacts</a>.</p> <h2>Unprecedented growth</h2> <p>Newly constructed mega-ships are part of the industry’s unprecedented growth. Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is the <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/top-10-biggest-cruise-ships-in-the-world/66448">largest cruise ship in the world</a>, with 18 decks, 5,600 passengers and 2,350 crew.</p> <p>MSC World Europa with 6,700 passengers and 2,100 crew, P&amp;O Arvia with 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew, and Costa Smeralda with 6,600 passengers and 1,500 crew also claim mega-ship status.</p> <p>Those sailing to and from Alaska via Victoria will be some of the <a href="https://hakaimagazine.com/features/cruise-ship-invasion/">estimated 700,000 passengers departing Seattle</a> on massive ships three sport fields in length.</p> <p>Baby boomers represent less than 25 per cent of cruise clientele. Gen X, <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/2024/01/15/cruise-millennials-gen-z">Millennials and Gen Z</a> have more interest than ever in cruising, with these younger markets being targeted as the future of cruise passengers.</p> <p>The Cruise Lines International Association asserts that <a href="https://cruising.org/-/media/clia-media/research/2024/2024-state-of-the-cruise-industry-report_041424_web.ashx">82 per cent of those who have cruised will cruise again</a>. To entice first-timers and meet the needs of repeat cruisers, companies are offering new itineraries and onboard activities, from <a href="https://www.timescolonist.com/business/royal-caribbean-quantum-cruise-ship-1st-at-sea-bumper-cars-skydiving-observation-capsule-4585987">simulated skydiving and bumper cars</a> to <a href="https://nationalpost.com/travel/cruise-ship-offers-pickleball-on-the-high-seas">pickleball</a> and lawn bowling.</p> <p>Solo cruise travel is also on the rise, and <a href="https://www.cruisetradenews.com/demand-for-multi-generational-cruise-holidays-on-the-up-data-finds/">multi-generational family cruise travel</a> is flourishing, explaining the extensive variety of cabin classes, activities and restaurants available on newly constructed and retrofitted ships.</p> <p>However, only a few cruise ports are large enough to dock mega ships. Cruise lines are responding by offering off-beat experiences and catering more to the distinct desires of travellers.</p> <p>In doing so, there is a <a href="https://www.positivelyosceola.com/2024s-top-cruise-trends-embracing-smaller-ships-solo-adventures-and-luxury-suites/">move towards smaller vessels and luxury liners</a>, river cruises and <a href="https://www.travelweek.ca/news/cruise/expedition-cruising-what-is-it-and-how-do-you-sell-it/">expedition cruising</a>. Leveraging lesser-known ports that can only be accessed via compact luxury ships <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/story/small-cruise-ships-are-more-sustainble-and-on-the-rise">offers more mission-driven, catered experiences</a> for the eco-minded traveller.</p> <h2>Cruising and environmental costs</h2> <p>Cruise ship visitors are known to negatively impact Marine World Heritage sites. While most sites regulate ballast water and wastewater discharge, there are <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020611">concerns about ship air emissions and wildlife interactions</a>.</p> <p>Cruise ship journeys along Canada’s west coast, for example, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/09/us-cruise-ships-using-canada-as-toilet-bowl-for-polluted-waste-alaska-british-columbia">are leaving behind a trail of toxic waste</a>. <a href="https://foe.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Comparison_of_CO2_Emissions_v2.pdf">A study by environmental organization Friends of the Earth</a> concluded that a cruise tourist generates eight times more carbon emissions per day than a land tourist in Seattle.</p> <p>Also, a rise in expedition cruising means more negative impacts (long-haul flights to farther ports, less destination management in fragile ecosystems, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/03/briefing/last-chance-tourism.html">last chance tourism</a>) and a rise in carbon dioxide emissions.</p> <p>Toxic air pollutants from cruise ships around ports are higher than pre-pandemic levels, <a href="https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/europes-luxury-cruise-ships-emit-as-much-toxic-sulphur-as-1bn-cars-study/">leaving Europe’s port cities “choking on air pollution</a>.” Last year, Europe’s 218 cruise ships emitted as much sulphur oxides as one billion cars — a high number, considering the introduction of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30002-4">International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in 2020</a>.</p> <h2>Rough seas ahead or smooth sailing?</h2> <p>Royal Caribbean said its Icon of the Seas is designed to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/worlds-largest-cruise-ship-sets-sail-bringing-concerns-about-methane-emissions-2024-01-27/">operate 24 per cent more efficiently than the international standard</a> for new ships. International Maritime Organization regulations <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-22/royal-caribbean-s-icon-of-the-seas-highlights-climate-impact-of-cruises">must be 30 per cent more energy-efficient</a> than those built in 2014.</p> <p>But despite the industry using liquefied natural gas instead of heavy fuel oil and electric shore power to turn off diesel engines when docking, industry critics still claim <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/26/icon-of-the-seas-largest-cruise-ship-human-lasagne-climate-fuel-lng-greenwashing">the cruise sector is greenwashing</a>. As a result, some cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice are <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryroeloffs/2023/07/21/war-on-cruise-ships-amsterdam-latest-port-to-limit-or-ban-cruise-liners">limiting or banning cruise ships</a>.</p> <p>Environmental critiques remain strong, especially for <a href="https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ijegeo/issue/65449/957262">polar expeditions</a>. The industry must respond and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-01949-4_131">increase sustainability efforts</a>, but their measures remain reactive (i.e., merely meeting international regulations) rather than proactive. In addition, by sailing their ships under <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/13/real-problem-with-cruise-industry/">flags of convenience</a>, cruise companies evade taxes and demonstrate an unwillingness to abide by a nation’s environmental, health and labour regulations.</p> <p>In any case, environmental concerns are escalating along with the industry. <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/cruising-green-eco-operators-make-waves">Travel agents and industry figures are aware of these impacts</a> and should help promote cruise lines that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices.</p> <p>Local residents need to expect more from port authorities and local governments in order <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2024.103732">to cope with cruise tourism</a>. Cruise consumers should recognize the environmental costs of cruising, and demand accountability and transparency from cruise lines.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228181/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-dimanche-836528"><em>Frédéric Dimanche</em></a><em>, Professor and Director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, Teaching Faculty, Geography and Environmental Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/rough-seas-or-smooth-sailing-the-cruise-industry-is-booming-despite-environmental-concerns-228181">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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5 ways to avoid going overboard on a cruise

<p>Falling overboard is the stuff of cruising nightmares (and it happens surprisingly more frequently than you might think. Just this year we’ve brought you two stories about passengers falling overboard, but this fishy fate is by no means unavoidable.</p> <p>Here are five ways to ensure you keep your feet dry.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit your alcohol intake</strong></p> <p>If the prices weren’t enough of a reason to go easy on the sauce on your cruise, perhaps the risk of tipping over the balcony will persuade you. Think of it this way – the effect of alcohol on a cruise is the same as the effect of alcohol on dry land, but when you’re on a cruise you’re travelling through sometimes heavy seas at about 20 knots.</p> <p><strong>2. Stay in your room during inclement weather</strong></p> <p>If your ship is sailing into dicey conditions, you’re better off keeping to your quarters. You never know how a cruise liner is going to stand up to the ocean’s wrath, and even if you want a good view of Mother Nature’s nasty side, you’re safer below deck. </p> <p><strong>3. Keep clear of dark corners</strong></p> <p>It’s not a very pleasant thing to think about, but when there are 4,000 passengers on a cruise they’re not all going to be good eggs. Be aware of your surroundings, just as you would be on land, and be sure to report any suspicious activity to a crew member.</p> <p><strong>4. Pay attention during the practice drills</strong></p> <p>Even if you’ve been on 20 cruises it’s a good idea to pay attention during the practice drills. This will reinforce what you need to do in an event of an emergency, and might just save your life (or someone else’s by knowing where to find the safety gear).</p> <p><strong>5. Don’t re-enact the <em>Titanic</em> scene</strong></p> <p>Because going overboard will make you look like anything but, “The king of the world.”</p> <p>Have you ever been on a cruise? Did you ever feel unsafe at any point? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Elderly couple left stranded by cruise ship

<p>An elderly American couple was left behind by a Norwegian Cruise Line while on holiday in Spain this week. </p> <p>Richard and Claudene Gordon- aged 84 and 81 - were on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Viva with plans to celebrate Richard's birthday before things went downhill.</p> <p>The couple decided to take an independent excursion by themselves while the ship was docked in Motril, Spain, but on their return, their bus was delayed for an hour due to poor weather, so they ran late for the 5:30pm all-aboard time ahead of a scheduled 6pm departure.</p> <p>“I am a very experienced traveler and have probably been on as many as 30 cruises during my lifetime,” Richard told <em>CNN</em>. </p> <p>“Never before have we ever missed catching a ship on time at a port. So we are not someone who abuses the system.”</p> <p>Richard claimed that at 5:45pm they notified a relative on board who raised the alarm that they were nearby and running late, but nothing could be done at that point as the ship had to leave on time. </p> <p>By the time the couple arrived at 6:10pm, the boat had left the harbour, but Richard claimed that the cruise line had a tendency to depart behind schedule, and made no attempt to contact them until  late Tuesday. </p> <p>“Our cruise began in Lisbon and we departed from Lisbon about one and a half hours after the scheduled departure at 4pm,” he claimed.</p> <p>“Then the next night or two, at least a half-hour late from the dock, so it is clear that they do not always leave on the exact moment scheduled.”</p> <p>The couple were left stranded without their medication, eyeglasses and spare hearing aid batteries, which were left on board. </p> <p>Their daughter ended up having to book her parents a flight to Palma de Mallorca, where the boat was making its next call Wednesday morning, according to the publication. </p> <p>By the time the couple got to Mallorca, they were met with "a beautiful black BMW limousine" which took them back to their ship. </p> <p>"There we were met by the head of ship services who escorted us inside the ship to meet the general manager of the ship, then they escorted us to breakfast, then they escorted us to our cabin.They said they have already complained about the harbour master who was supposed to take care of things for them.</p> <p>"But of course the ship had not contacted us directly for two days so that doesn’t speak so well for them.”</p> <p>The Norwegian Cruise Line disputed the couple’s account of what happened.</p> <p>“After several attempts to contact these guests with the phone numbers provided, as well as trying to phone their emergency contact, we were unable to speak to them directly. However, we worked closely with the local port agents to make arrangements for the guests to rejoin the vessel,” a spokesperson said. </p> <p>“It is important to note that a delayed departure has the potential to impact the ship’s ability to deliver its planned itinerary and thus influence the experience for all guests on-board. While this was a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time.”</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Aussie cruising fanatics share their top cruise tips

<p dir="ltr">An Aussie couple who are dedicated to cruising have shared their top tips to keep in mind before setting sail. </p> <p dir="ltr">Marty and Jessica Ansen are about to set off on their 130th cruise and have made headlines around the world for their devotion to spending most of their lives at sea.</p> <p dir="ltr">Together they have sailed roughly 770,000 nautical miles over more than 2,300 days on board, which equates to more than six years spent at sea.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Brisbane grandparents, both 77, have just headed off on their tenth trip around the globe, which is also their 52nd consecutive cruise adventure. </p> <p dir="ltr">During all their time spent at seas, the Ansens have learned a thing or two about life onboard, and have shared their top ten tips to make time on a cruise ship as smooth sailing as possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">Their number one tip for cruise travellers is to take a backup credit or debit card, as Marty told<em> <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/cruising/cruise-tips-couple-princess-cruises-marty-and-jessica-ansen-australia/c61281dd-c47a-41bf-b166-608b581eccdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9Travel</a></em>, "Replacing a lost or stolen card while overseas is not for the fainthearted."</p> <p dir="ltr">The Ansens recommend making a clear and legible copy of your passport, as consulates find it a lot easier if you can provide a copy ready to go when you disembark.</p> <p dir="ltr">After all their years at sea, Marty and Jessica are pro-packers, and recommend wearing all your heaviest clothing when you check in to better adhere to a strict weight limit. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Jessica and I have one piece of luggage, usually under 20kg," Marty said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"We also each have one bag of hand luggage. Going on board, regardless of weather, I wear my heaviest clothing."</p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to packing, they also advise leaving your toiletries at home. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Leave consumables like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and any creams and potions at home as Princess (cruise line) provides basic toiletries and anything you do need can be bought at the first port," Marty said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Marty and Jessica also recommend packing all your essentials in your hand luggage, as it can often take a while for your checked bags to arrive in your cruise ship cabin. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Place all jewellery, passports, visas, medication money and credit/debit cards in your hand luggage for easy retrieval," Marty said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Marty said one thing every traveller must check before setting sail is what electrical connection is used onboard. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Check what electrical connection is used onboard and have the right adapter ready to charge your devices,' Marty said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many ships have American and European plug points, while newer ones may have USB connections too.</p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to bringing medications, the Ansens said you should always bring extras, as well as the required paperwork.</p> <p dir="ltr">"As an extra precaution carry copies of scripts so that if you do run out or lose your medications it will be easier to prove what you need to overseas pharmacies or doctors," Marty said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, like any overseas adventure, the Ansens said it is important to always have travel insurance, and to make copies of your policy. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: X (Twitter)</em></p>

Cruising

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"I believe he is alive": Father of young man who jumped off cruise ship speaks out

<p>The father of the young man who jumped off a cruise ship on its way to Florida has spoken out, saying he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>While the Liberty of the Seas was travelling back from the Dominican Republic on its way to Florida, 20-year-old Levion Parker <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/young-man-who-jumped-off-cruise-ship-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumped overboard</a>. </p> <p>The ship was reportedly about 90km off the southern most island of the Bahamas when the young man, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, jumped overboard in the early hours of the morning. </p> <p>Witnesses recounted the harrowing scene, describing how a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>After days of searching, the US coast guard called off their search for the young man. </p> <p>Now, Legion's father Francel said he believes his son is still alive. </p> <p>“As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him. I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard. I stand on the word of God. I believe he is alive,” Mr Parker told local Florida paper, the <a href="https://www.yoursun.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Sun</em>, </a>on Wednesday.</p> <p>Francel went open to say that he threw six life rings off the ship in hopes of saving his son before the vessel was able to come to a stop about 20 minutes later.</p> <p>When news broke onboard of the tragedy, travellers reported that many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to spot the young man in the water.</p> <p>Levion was reportedly “drunk” on the night of the incident, although details around this are unclear as the minimum age to consume alcohol on Royal Caribbean ships on voyages from North America or the Caribbean is 21.</p> <p>“We don’t drink,” Levion’s father Francel said. “I’d like to know how my son was served so much alcohol.”</p> <p>Francel, who owns an air-conditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based air-conditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Young man who jumped off cruise ship identified

<p>The young man who <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/his-family-was-horrified-young-man-jumps-off-cruise-ship" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumped overboard</a> from a Royal Caribbean cruise has been identified as 20-year-old Levion Parker. </p> <p>Parker, a former high school footballer from Florida, was onboard the Liberty of the Seas with his family when the incident occurred, as the vessel was making its way back to the US after a four-day cruise to the Dominican Republic. </p> <p>The ship was reportedly about 90km off the southern most island of the Bahamas when the young man, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol, jumped overboard in the early hours of the morning. </p> <p>Witnesses recounted the harrowing scene, describing how a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/20yo-who-went-overboard-royal-caribbean-cruise-ship-identified/news-story/ebeef7b2ed03d828b5a6efbd2a8ebfe1" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> the ship’s crew immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the US Coast Guard, who took over the search. </p> <p>“Our Care Team is providing support and assistance to the guest’s family during this difficult time. For the privacy of the guest and their family, we have no additional details to share,” the spokesperson said on Monday.</p> <p>Fellow travellers on the cruise were alerted to the tragedy during breakfast a few hours later, as many stood along balconies starring into the sea in the hopes of finding the man. </p> <p>A passenger took to Reddit to post about the heartbreaking incident said they became aware of the tragedy when the captain "announced it over the PA system while we were at breakfast and the entire room went silent.” </p> <p>Levion’s father Francel Parker, who owns an air-conditioning business, was invited, together with his family, aboard the ship as guests of Florida-based air-conditioning wholesalers Tropic Supply to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.</p> <p>The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for the missing young man.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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"His family was horrified": Young man jumps off cruise ship

<p>What was meant to be a voyage of leisure and joy turned into a nightmare in the early hours of Thursday morning when a young man made a fateful decision to leap overboard, leaving passengers and crew stunned and grieving.</p> <p>The incident occurred as Royal Caribbean's colossal 18-storey <em>Liberty of the Seas</em> cruise ship navigated the waters between Cuba and the Bahamas' Grand Inagua Island. <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/04/04/us-news/royal-caribbean-cruise-horror-as-20-year-old-man-jumps-overboard/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to the New York Post</a>, witnesses recounted the harrowing scene: a young man took a spontaneous plunge from one of the ship's decks, despite the desperate pleas and helplessness of his father and brother who stood witness to the impulsive act.</p> <p>Passengers onboard shared their accounts, describing the chilling moments leading up to the tragedy. Bryan Sims, one of the witnesses, told the <em>New York Post</em> he had spent time with the young man and his brother in the ship's hot tub until the early hours of the morning. "He was pretty drunk," Sims said, noting the jovial atmosphere that abruptly transformed into shock and chaos.</p> <p>The young man's declaration to his father, followed by his abrupt jump, left bystanders reeling in disbelief: “As we were walking from the hot tub back to the elevators, his dad and brother were walking towards us," Sims continued. "His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess. When we got to them, he said to his dad, ‘I’ll fix this right now.’ And he jumped out the window in front of us all.” </p> <p>Deborah Morrison, another passenger, echoed the sentiments of shock and horror that rippled through the ship. "His family was horrified. Just beside themselves," she recounted. “There was a lot of yelling, and the crew was alerted immediately.”</p> <p>In a statement addressing the tragic incident, Royal Caribbean affirmed its commitment to providing support to the family, while respecting their privacy during this difficult time. </p> <p>Amy Phelps Fouse, another passenger onboard, attested to the sombre atmosphere that enveloped the ship in the wake of the tragedy. Despite the uncertainty that lingered, she commended Royal Caribbean for their transparency and compassionate response to the situation.</p> <p><em>More to come.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Royal Caribbean</em></p>

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