More cruise lines doing away with plastic bottles
Beginning in spring 2019, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will serve water in reusable glass bottles, replacing traditional plastic water bottles across the fleet. The cruise line has set a goal to eliminate approximately 2 million plastic water bottles annually. Passengers will be able to choose from Vero-branded still or sparkling water, which uses a proprietary five-stage nanofiltration process to reduce impurities, chemicals and imperfections. An onboard purification and filling system will enable the line to purify, chill and serve Vero water on all its ships Regent Seven Seas’ move toward Vero water is part of a Sail & Sustain environmental program helmed by its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. The latest announcement comes only two weeks after Regent Seven Seas’ sister brand, Oceania, also revealed it would replace plastic bottles with Vero water. Last year, all three lines under the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. umbrella — including Norwegian Cruise Line — eliminated plastic straws from their ships.
Malta continues to climb in popularity
Statistics released by Malta’s National Statistics Office for inbound tourism for 2018 show that Malta’s popularity in the North American market is still rising. The Hon. Konrad Mizzi, Minister of Tourism for Malta, noted that the US was one of the fastest growing tourism markets for Malta, recording a dramatic increase of 31.9% from 2017 to 2018, with a total of 47,170 Americans visitors. The increase from Canada in 2018 was 6.6% (15,015 Canadians) bringing the total arrivals in 2018 from North America to a record-breaking 62,185. This archipelago in the Mediterranean recorded an overall 2.6 million visitors (+14.3% between 2017 and 2018), bringing a record number of tourists to Malta from around the world.
First Italian beach to go non-smoking
The Venetian seaside resort of Bibione will be the first Italian beach to go completely smoke-free, in a mission to safeguard the environment from discarded cigarette ends and protect visitors from secondhand smoke. The decision comes after eight years of trials, as part of the Breathe the Sea Air project, which saw an initial smoking ban between the first row of umbrellas to thewater’s edge. New measures, to be imposed by the end of May, will include designated smoking areas 300 to 400 meters away from the sea, at the edge of the beach. Details regarding fines and whether e-cigarettes are to be permitted will be published in May. The 8km stretch of beach received 5,317,064 visitors in 2017, making it the fourth most visited beach in the country, after Rimini, Cavallino-Treporti and Jesolo.
Non-binary gender options soon to be available when buying airline tickets
US airline passengers will soon be able to select a gender option which is not “male” or “female” when purchasing tickets. Major American airlines have said they will soon change their ticketing process to include choices such as “undisclosed” or “unspecified”. There could also be the optional title of “Mx”. American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue said they are in the process of updating their booking tools and plan to add a binary option to the gender menu on their sites. They said the change will be made in the next few weeks. The Transportation Security Administration said passengers should use the name, gender and birth date on their government-issued ID. The airlines said they are making the change to be more inclusive in dealing with a diverse range of customers. “It’s a significant step forward for non-binary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification,” Beck Bailey, of the Human Rights Campaign, said.
Therapy dogs added at Toronto Pearson airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport and the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program are partnering to bring 15 therapy dog teams to YYZ. As part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team Volunteer Program, SJA Therapy Dog teams will roam Terminals 1 and 3 to bring enjoyment and help alleviate the anxiety that some passengers experience while traveling. Engaging with a therapy dog has been known to have a positive effect in helping to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. Along with their handlers wearing the distinctive blue Toronto Pearson Welcome Team vests or jackets, SJA therapy dogs Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie will roam Terminals 1 and 3 on a flexible, weekly rotation and can be easily spotted by their official red and white SJA Therapy Dog bandanas. Passengers are welcome to approach the dogs and pet them to help them relax while at the airport.
Think of lovely Wales for cruising!
Wales may not immediately spring to mind as a cruise destination, but in 2018 alone the country welcomed more than 100 ships. That means more than 51,000 cruise passengers from the USA, Canada, France and Germany sailed to Wales last year. It is a significant upturn on 2017’s figures which show a year on year increase of 15%. The Welsh Government say they want to continue this growth for 2019. They’ve been working with Cruise Wales and local authorities and ports on a marketing program for Wales. The country has attracted new lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Aida, Regent Seven Seas and Phoenix Reissen and work is ongoing to attract further cruise lines as well as retain the existing ones. The Welsh Government has invested in a pontoon in the Fishguard port, allowing larger cruise vessels to call. There has already been an increase in passenger numbers for 2019 of 50% including the arrival of the Aidabella cruise ship, with 2,500 cruise passengers on board. This will be the largest ship to call in Fishguard so far. Cruise & Maritime Voyages are set to continue offering turnaround cruises in 2019, following the second successful year of sailing out of Cardiff where 750 passengers will board and disembark the Marco Polo cruise vessel. The Marco Polo cruise ship will be setting sail from Cardiff to four locations this summer including to Iceland.