Norwegian Star Returns to Miami After Medical Emergency

Norwegian StarSeveral passengers onboard the Norwegian Star state that the NCL cruise ship is returning to Miami a day early due to a medical emergency.

One passenger on the ship writes:

"The Norwegian Star is speeding to Miami, to arrive 10 hours early due to a passenger medical emergency onboard. The Star will now arrive at 6 PM on Sunday instead of 4 AM Monday. Passengers other than the medical evacuee must remain on board until the regular disembarkation date . . . "

If this information is in fact accurate, it seems odd that the Star has not contacted the U.S. Coast Guard to request a helicopter medevac.

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Photo credit: Pjotr Mahhonin - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.

Azipod Failure on Norwegian Star

NCL Norwegian StarPassengers aboard NCL's Norwegian Star are telling me that the ship's azipod system has failed. The cruise ship is skipping Miami today and is heading for Tampa one day early. One passenger said that the next cruise is reportedly canceled. (The cancellation of the next cruise is not confirmed information. Please double check this information with your travel agents or the cruise line).

Another passenger said that he did not know whether the next cruise on Monday is canceled. He told me that the captain made the announcement about the azipod problems and said that "all communication with us has been absolutely clear, giving us free internet and phone calls and helping us to change hotel, and transportation bookings. Although it not an ideal situation the crew has behaved amazingly in this transatlantic and they have always provided us with transparent information."

This ship experienced propulsion problems earlier this year which were supposedly fixed while in dry dock.

Anyone have additional info?

Photo Credit:  Pjotr Mahhonin Creative Commons Via Wikipedia

Passenger Overboard From SuperStar Gemini

Newspapers in India are reporting that a thirty year old male Indian passenger disappeared in the Strait of Malacca from the SuperStar Gemini operated by Star Cruises.

Rajkumar Agarwal, from Calcutta, India, was cruising with his extended family who boarded the SuperStar Gemini on October 4th. He is the youngest of three brothers and was involved in the family's business.  

He was last seen around midnight on October 6th. 

SuperStar GeminiHis family is complaining that the cruise line is keeping them in the dark regarding what happened. 

Mr. Agarwal's family did not know that he was missing from the ship until the next morning. 

The captain of the cruise ship allegedly said that CCTV cameras recorded someone going overboard around 12.22 A.M. but refused to show the footage to the family.

The cruise ship apparently did not have an automatic man overboard system which would have automatically signaled the bridge that a person went overboard and into the water. 

There apparently were not any type of search and rescue procedures initiated by the cruise line. 

The Malaysian police and the cruise line are apparently claiming that Mr. Agarwal committed suicide. This is a usual defense quickly raised by a cruise line. The newspaper says that the police are theorizing that Mr. Agarwal may have "lost heavily" at the casino. 

But a Calcutta newspaper says that family members describe Mr. Agarwal as "happy, cheerful" person with no history of suicide who "having a great time at the casino." 

You can read additional information here.

The disappearance was first reported on Professor Ross Klein's website.

In March of this year, a passenger went overboard from the Star Cruises SuperStar Libra. His body was later recovered.  

Photo Credit:  Facebook via Telegraph of India

Part 2: Cruise Critic Picks Viking Star As Best New Cruise Ship?

A number of people contacted me after I wrote about the editors at Cruise Critic picking the Viking Star (Viking's first ocean-going cruise ship) as the "Best New Cruise Ship" for 2015.

Cruise passengers and crew members brought to my attention that there have been problems with the Viking Star from day one. They mentioned "technical" issues like the failure of the propulsion systems only five months in service. Apparently, no one from shore-side management from the home office appeared in Tallinn following the fiasco.

A major issue faced the cruise ship this summer when glass shower doors, that has been installed wrong, began exploding while in use, leaving passengers bleeding.  

There has reporedly been a significant turnover of ship employees. Many crew members were not provided with written contracts until later and the financial terms were allegedly lower than verbally promised.

The new ship apparently did not have employment or technical manuals. Many crew members were told to bring manuals and procedures from their former cruise ship. There were inconsistent procedures from a mishmash of cruise line protocols. Some people even allegedly started to put Viking logos over the former logos just to have procedures.

Many crew members were frustrated that there seemed to be a general lack of experience of operating ships at sea rather than in a river. One person sent us a video of an anchoring mid fjord when the Viking Star almost ran aground. 

Another reader talked about the scandal surrounding the Godmother for the new cruise ship, Trude Drevland, the mayor of Bergen City in Norway. She is recently under police investigation due to allegations of bribery by the ship owner.  You can read an article here (it is Norwegian, so you will need to translate it). Among other things, Godmother Drevland is accused of being flown in a private jet, to Venice in June to participate in the launch of Viking Star. The air travel and stay at a luxury hotel were allegedly paid by the chairman and chief executive officer Torstein Hagen. You can read more details here.

In an industry which relies on marketing images and rave reviews, it appears that there is dirt behind the scenes that neither Cruise Critic nor the Viking Star owners want you to know.   

 

Man Overboard from Star Cruises MV Super Star Libra

A newspaper in Malaysia is reporting that the body of a man who fell overboard from the Star Cruises MV Super Star Libra was found last night.

The body of Mulianto Raik, age 50, an Indonesian, was found by fishermen in Malaysia waters. 

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Penang Maritime District 2 took possession of the body and Star Cruises Super Star Libra turned it over to the police for investigation.

Mr. Raik had disappeared from the Super Star Libra on Friday March 13, 2015. A search and rescue operation took place after surveillance film showed that he had fallen from the cruise ship. 

According to cruise expert Professor Ross Klein at least 247 have gone overboard from cruise ship since 2000.

The cruise ship was originally operated by Norwegian Cruise Line from 1988–1997 as the Seaward and from 1997–2005 as the Norwegian Sea. it has operated from 2005–present as the SuperStar Libra. It is flagged in the Bahamas.

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Cprogrammer Creative Commons 2.0

Baseball Great Jim Fregosi Suffers Stroke on MSC Divina

Jim Fregosi MSC CruisesNumerous sources are reporting that former baseball All-Star shortstop and manager Jim Fregosi suffered a stroke during a Major League Baseball alumni cruise and was taken to a hospital in the Cayman Islands.

MLB.com reports that Mr. Fregosi, age 71, suffered the stroke while the cruise ship was sailing in the Caribbean.

MSC Cruises advertises that as part of its "Baseball Greats Cruises," Mr. Fregosi was scheduled to cruise from Miami on Saturday, February 8, 2014 aboard the MSC Divina cruise ship. The cruise was scheduled for 7 days. The itinerary included stops at Falmouth Jamaica, Georgetown Cayman Islands, Cozumel Mexico and Great Stirrup Cay.

MSC sent Mr. Fregosi ashore to the Cayman Islands. His family then arranged for him to be flown here to Miami where he is receiving medical treatment.

MSC Cruises Divina Jim FregosiMSC Cruises describes Mr. Fregosi as follows: "The American League's All-Star shorstop 6 times who could hit, run, field and throw. He was a player for 17 years and was a Major League manager for 4 teams over 15 years and led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993."

Baseball cruises are a popular theme and have sometimes met with misfortune for the celebrity athletes. A year ago, baseball legend and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver died while sailing aboard the Celebrity Silhouette after sustaining a heart attack.

 

Photo Credit: MSC Cruises

NCL Assistant Cruise Director Sentenced to Nine Years for Child Pornography

Today, a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) former assistant cruise director was sentenced to nine years in jail for possessing child pornography.

Senad Djedovic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was arrested earlier this year after he boasted about engaging in sexual relations with a 16 year old girl who sailed on the NCL Star cruise ship with her parents. 

After the cruise ended, Djedovic exchanged emails with the underage girl and received a number of sexually explicit photographs.

Other crew members on the NCL cruise ship observed the photos and learned the girl's age and reported Djedovic to NCL which contacted the FBI. A search of Djedovic's computers revealed child Senad Djedovic - NCL - Child Pornpornography. 

NCL employed Djedovic from 2005 to March 2012 aboard a number of different cruise ships. 

We wrote a series of articles this year about this case which you can review here, including videos of him singing on YouTube. 

After Djedovic was arrested, a number of crew members and friends came to his defense arguing that he should be acquitted because sex with a 16 year old is not a big deal and this kind of conduct is not illegal in most countries. We received bizarre comments to this blog to this effect.

Parents who consider cruising with their teenage daughters should take into consideration that this is the mentality of some crew members toward your underage children.

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship Strikes Pier Next to Aircraft Carrier

A New York online newspaper in Manhattan, DNAinfo.com, reports that the Norwegian Star cruise ship collided with the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier this morning while the cruise ship was trying to dock at the harbor in Manhattan.

The aircraft carrier is part of the Intrepid Museum and is moored at the harbor.  

Passengers on the NCL cruise ship dispute that the ship struck the carrier.  Passengers leaving comments indicate that the Norwegian Star struck the pier next to the carrier.  

The 965-foot-long cruise ship - which was on its first trip to New York this season - was struggling to dock Friday morning because of "heavy winds and choppy waters," Norwegian Cruise Line officials said in an email.

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship Collides USS IntrepidAccording to the Manhattan newspaper, witnesses said the cruise ship tried to reverse course in order to dock, but was unsuccessful.

"He tried four times, up and back, up and back, four times," said Drago Ivanko, an elevator porter on Pier 88, referring to the ship operator. "It was windy, low tide. When there's low tide, the river started going a little faster."

John Chiaradio, 49, who was on the cruise with his wife, Sheli, said he could feel the impact.

"He hit about mid-ship on the starboard side," said Chiaradio, of Bristol, Conn.

"It was loud. It sounded like sticks breaking. Big sticks."

This is the last thing the cruise industry needs for the public to imagine, cruise ships unable to handle low tide and moderate winds, crashing into a pier next to a retired aircraft carrier from our Navy's fleet. 

This is not the first time that a NCL cruise ship struck a pier in Manhattan.  In May 2008, the Norwegian Spirit struck a pier in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  Professional Mariner reported:

"The 1,074-foot cruise ship was headed upriver with the intention of docking at Pier 88, just south of Pier 90, the Coast Guard said. The vessel was returning from an eight-day voyage to the Caribbean, with about 2,000 passengers and 1,100 crew.

As is routine, Norwegian Spirit made a single, uninterrupted sweeping turn to starboard in an attempt to slip into Pier 88. Unfortunately, the turn was too wide and the crew failed to back down in time, said Lt. Thomas Casey, a Coast Guard investigator.

'The starboard side of the vessel moors to the north side of Pier 88,” Casey said. “She is a large vessel, and it’s a pretty tight area. She wound up striking the side of Pier 90.'"

 

 

 

Video credit:  jmchiaradio (youtube)