4) Norwegian Epic is Launched
A nice one at number 4, no crazy rude passengers or volcanoes in sight… just the launch of a long awaited, wonderful cruise liner. The Norwegian Epic finally launched in 2010 and NCL received much positive feedback about the ship, with some surprising aspects receiving praise. One of the most commented on features of the Epic is it’s ability to cater for single passengers. The Epic has over 120 cabins for solo travellers, an idea that has gone down so well that these cabins are often the first to get booked up. Other cruise lines now plan to follow suit and add their own cabins for solo passengers, a welcome move for those that like cruising alone.
Another much talked about aspect of the Epic is the bathroom setup. NCL have tried to move away from the standard cruise cabins on other cruise lines (where you could be on any ship in the world because the look so similar) and have tried to do things a little differently. One way of doing this was to put the toilet and shower in small glass cubicles in the room, rather than having a seperate bathroom as such (it’s hard to describe, but look at the image above). Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable with doing their business behind a glass screen so NCL have also had to add a curtain which seperates off the “bathroom area”. Some love it, some hate it, but hey, at least it’s different!
5) Storms, Storms, Storms
So when you go on a cruise, you take a bit of a risk with the weather and the motion of the ocean, that’s just the way it goes. Generally, the risk is very small as cruise ships are so large and have such good stabilisers that you will barely feel the ship moving. Cruise ships also tend to visit areas based on the conditions at sea in that particular area, at that particular time of year. However, sometimes it doesn’t go entirely according to plan and in 2010, we saw a few ships come up against terrible storms. The Brilliance of the Seas was one such ship and it got so knocked about by a storm that many were injured. It is worth noting at this point that this is considered a freak occurence and these things are very rare (especially on bigger cruise liners). However, to decrease the risk further you should book your cruise in the middle of the season for your destination, don’t wait till it gets cheaper at the end of a season. Also, cruises to the Med or the Caribbean are generally considered to be the calmest out there.
6) Splendor is on Fire
Who could forget the fire onboard the Splendor? It caused a media storm when it was revealed that passengers were forced to eat Spam and Pop Tarts. The ship was rendered useless, losing all power and bobbing up and down in the middle of the ocean for 4 days after a fire broke out in the engine room. Although there were 1 or 2 passengers moaning and complaining at the situation, the majority of cruisers saw it as a big adventure, and certainly it was a once in a lifetime experience. Us cruise lovers are a hardy bunch, and it would take more than a few chunks of spam to put us off our cruise holidays. The ship was pulled safely to shore after a few days and Carnival Cruises gave out full refunds and offered passengers a free cruise in the future. You can’t say fairer than that!